Introduction of Tomioka Silk Mill (2)


Tomioka Silk Mill has been registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List as “Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites” on 2014. The main criteria registered as World heritage are as follows.

  1. Tomioka Silk Mill had contributed a lot to the silk industry in the world. The high quality of raw silk and the silk warm breeding technology had spread over the world and contributed the world wide silk industry expansion.The plant was the largest size of silk plant at the time-flame which is 140 meter length,12 meter breadth and 12 meter hight.  After the factory be privatized, this Silk Mill technology finally had become the world leading technology and had produced the Silk products as world number one volume until this factory had ceased to operate in 1987.

    2. The architecture of the plant has been completely reserved without damage from the year of 1872 when 
this plant was built with using most advanced architectural technology applied to this plant.
Followings are key technology applied.

        a) Fairly large scale of silk stock space was required for the silk stock building.  Due to establishment of this large scale space, this plant had survived for around 110 years from 1872 to 1987.

          All the space inside this plant silk produced required the construction without pillars. To achieve the subject, the new construction method was applied transfered from France.

      This method is called truss structure. The characteristic of this method is to combine the timber with triangle shape.

        This method can highly enhance the structure stability and the load to occur each timber material is small that allow the use of thin materials. After the technology applied to this plant, this method has been applied to plants, schools, warehouses, sports arena and so-on in all over Japan.

     b) This silk production need huge volume of water stocked. Therefore, large size of tank which can
stock water of 400 liter was manufactured using iron.
This is the beginning of iron usage for modernized industry.

   c) The wall of plant building is made by red brick and that of roof is by Japanese tile.
This style is combination of western and Japanese construction method which is called
timber frame brick construction.
This construction load the weight of the building to pillars and beams.
To achieve reliable tolerance of this building, all kinds of materials are quickly prepared from the local area 
of Gunma and executed many trials for those.
Pillars and beams were gathered from Mt.Myogi which is located near Tomioka city.
A lots of red brick and Japanese tile were burned and formed at the town near the city. 
Many excellent craftsmen were gathered and many trials of the production were executed.
Finally, very beautiful colored and reliable red brick was completed.
Plaster made by lime as the role of cement was used to connect each brick and the connection was completely 
achieved as strong and reliable one.
The foundation stones of the building were also gathered from the mountain near the city.
 The coal used as the fuel of steam engine  was mined at the first time in Japan.
 The coal was used for the steam engine of the reeling machine.


    3) The labor environment in Tomioka Silk Mill was good condition for female that was rare case in the world
that is one of the criteria selected as World heritage. Seven days working system with one day off on Sunday and
8 hours working time per day and 10 days vacation for each summer and New year’s were applied as the female working condition which was introduced from France.  The fee of foods and boarding were paid by the plant.

As shown above, Tomioka Silk Mill is not the tour spot that provide beautiful landscape, brilliant & gorgeous architecture and easy understanding traditional history. This site’s attraction is unremarkable.
However, this show very important value of historical and technical view points.

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Tomioka Silk Mill tour

                                                                                                                 By Kashima