Silk Industry

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The chief center of the silk industry in Germany, and one of the most important in Europe, well able to compete with Lyons, has for a quarter of a millennium been Krefeld. The establishment and bringing to flower of this industry was chiefly the achievement of a number of Mennonite families, although by the mid-20th century the Mennonite participation in the industry was greatly reduced. The chief firm was that of F. and H. von der Leyen, established in 1669. The King of Prussia, eager to promote trade and industry, guaranteed the Mennonites absolute religious freedom because of their initiative, industry, and progressiveness and granted the silk firms special favors of various sorts.

The attempt of Johann Cornies to introduce silk raising in the young Mennonite settlements in the Ukraine in the second quarter of the 19th century through the planting of mulberry trees and the growing of silkworms was discontinued when wheat raising became dominant. An attempt was made in 1874-1880 in the Peabody area in Marion County, Kansas, by the Mennonite immigrants from Russia to introduce the silk industry.


Beckerath, G. von. "Die wirtschaftliche Bedeutung del Krefelder Mennoniten . . ."  Doctoral diss. Bonn, 1951.

Schmoller, G. and O. Hintze, ed. Die preussische Seidenindustrie. Berlin, 1892: II. (Acta Borussica).

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1959

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MLA style

Bender, Harold S. "Silk Industry." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 11 May 2021.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1959). Silk Industry. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 11 May 2021, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 1125. All rights reserved.

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