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Table 4 Results summary of the PLM fiber identification study

From: Materials characterization of the Ruby Slippers from the 1939 classic film, The Wizard of Oz

Fiber sample PLM image Average fiber diameter, µm (n = 5) Morphology description Identification
Spun silk (Testfabrics reference) 13 Fibers are thin, smooth, uniform in diameter, and transparent. Occasional dents, constrictions and swellings occur in some. Fibers are colorless, suggesting they are undyed Silk
Bleached cotton (Testfabrics reference) 27 Fibers are thin hollow tubes that twist along the length. Some changes twist direction (S or Z) observed along fiber length. Fibers tend to be flat and elongated. Fibers are transparent and colorless; undyed Cotton
Wool (Testfabrics reference) 24 Fibers are slightly variable in width, and show overlapping scales characteristic of wool. Fibers are colorless suggesting they are undyed Wool
Red netting thread, p.r. shoe 15 Fibers are thin, smooth, uniform in diameter, and transparent. Occasional dents, constrictions and swellings occur in some. The fibers are consistent with silk but appear to be have been bent due to the “memory” of twisting of the threads in the red netting. Fibers are dyed a uniform red color Silk (dyed red)
Red thread holding netting to shoe, p.r. shoe 15 Fibers are thin, smooth, uniform in diameter, and transparent. Occasional dents, constrictions and swellings occur in some filaments. Fibers are dyed a uniform red color Silk (dyed red)
Red thread holding netting to shoe, p.l. shoe 13 Fibers are thin, smooth, quite uniform in diameter and transparent. Occasional dents, constrictions and swellings occur in some filaments. Fibers are dyed a uniform red color Silk (dyed red)
Decorative faille shoe fabric, from weft, p.l. shoe 12 Individual fibers are thin, smooth, quite uniform in diameter, and transparent. Occasional dents, constrictions and swellings occur in some filaments. Fibers are dyed a uniform red color Silk (dyed red)
Sequin thread, p.r. shoe 17 Fibers are thin hollow tubes, with twists along fiber length which may change direction (S or Z) at various intervals. Fibers tend to be flat and elongated. Fibers are transparent and a light brown color suggesting the thread may have been dyed but is now altered and/or faded Cotton
Woven bow support thread, p.r. shoe 22 Fibers are thin hollow tubes, with twists along fiber length which may change direction (S or Z) at various intervals. Fibers tend to be flat and elongated. Fibers are transparent and colorless; undyed Cotton
Structural shoe fabric, p.r. shoe 23 Fibers are thin hollow tubes, with twists along fiber length which may change direction (S or Z) at various intervals. Fibers tend to be flat and elongated. Fibers are transparent and colorless; undyed. Globules of nearly opaque material on surface of fibers may be a residue of adhesive and/or stiffener Cotton, possibly mercerized
Sequin thread from toe, p.l. shoe 18 Thin hollow tube, twists along fiber length which may change direction (S or Z) at various intervals; fibers tend to be flat and elongated. Fibers are transparent and light brown, suggesting the thread may have been dyed but is now altered and/or faded Cotton
Orange felt on central sole area, p.r. shoe 23 (wool, orange dyed) Wool can be variable in width but shows characteristics scales, which allow its fibers to interlock with other fibers; dyed uniform bright orange. Other fibers are undyed. Cotton fibers show characteristics twists. Fibers other than orange dyed wool may be “shoddy” (inferior, reuse scrap fiber), and/or dust picked up from the floor during shoe usage Wool (orange dyed), other undyed fibers
Orange felt, near edge, p.l. shoe 30 (wool, orange dyed) Wool can be variable in width but shows characteristics scales, which allow its fibers to be distinguished from other materials; dyed uniform bright orange. Other fibers are undyed. Fibers other than orange dyed wool may be “shoddy” (inferior, reuse scrap fiber), and/or foreign fiber adhered from the floor during shoe usage Wool (orange dyed); undyed wool, other fibers
Sole near arch, p.r. shoe 7 Fine brown short fibers Leather