Aviators and Silk Scarves
I always wondered why aviators in those old open cockpit plans wore silk scarves. Was it just that they looked so dashing? It certainly couldn’t be to keep them warm, could it? This article proposes some reasonable ideas for the practice, but I’m convinced I’ve figured it out.
A few years ago, we took our family to China and visited the China National Silk Museum. Visiting the museum made us decide to buy a silk comforter to take home as a souvenir. We were thinking, it’ll be nice and cool in summer. Uh, no. I had no idea, but silk is about the warmest thing you can wrap yourself in! Whenever we use our comforter, it feels all cold and slick at first, but soon, we’re toasty warm. I have woken up in a sweat in an ice cold room. I don’t think silk lets one little calorie of heat pass through!
I’m a literal type and when I wrote that last line, I thought, is that true? The answer is no, but surprisingly enough, silk has the same thermal conductivity as fiberglass, which we use for insulation, and I can believe it.
So why did aviators where silk scarves? Probably because they were warm!
Take a moment and read this fascinating history of silk production…