Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Textile Society of America 9th Biennial Symposium, (2004).


Presented at “Appropriation • Acculturation • Transformation,” Textile Society of America 9th Biennial Symposium, Oakland, California, October 7-9, 2004. Copyright 2004 Textile Society of America.


India and England enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship through the silk trade during the British Empire. Thomas Wardle transformed aspects of India’s wild silk production, increasing demand for India’s yarn and providing employment for many thousands; this work should be better known.

Wardle was the first to print and dye Indian tusser almost any shade. At the Paris Exposition, 1878 he revealed tussser’s improved potential, gaining great publicity and a gold medal for India’s yarn. Thereafter, India increased exports of tusser yarn and cloth to Europe where it was demanded for furnishing, fashion and embroidery reads.