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Early references to radium silk noted it was a “Trade name for a light-weight supple washable silk for lining or dress purposes” and “The element radium, discovered in 1898, inspired a particularly shiny fabric sold as radium silk” and “Strong as the strongest lining silk…warranted not to stretch, split, or tear.”

References to radium silk appeared at least by late 1904. A trademark infringement U.S. court case regarding radium textiles noted: “The word (radium) came into use in Paris in connection with peculiarly lustrous fabrics, and was taken up by many persons here for use in the same connection…the evidence shows that the word was first used by the Gilbert Company…and registered by it (on Aug. 29, 1905 apparently) long before anyone else used it in this country…”

Although there were consumer products that contained radium, this brightly shiny fabric (thankfully!) does not.

Research, writing, and images by Lynne K. Ranieri

Radium silk
Tru-Dye Radium Silk label - From a 1920s shirt

Tru-Dye Radium Silk label

From a 1920s shirt