This section is from the "A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods" book, by George S. Cole. Also available from Amazon: A complete dictionary of dry goods and history of silk, cotton, linen, wool and other fibrous substances,: Including a full explanation of the modern processes ... together with various useful tables.
Pongee Silk. Properly, a thin, soft, washable, silk fabric, woven from the natural, uncolored raw silk, without further manipulation after it leaves the cocoon than to boil it "out of the gum." Formerly our entire supply of this silk was imported from China and Japan, where it was woven on the primitive hand looms. At present it is largely produced in the United States. There is also a fabric called pongee, which consists of a silk warp and a woolen weft, usually dyed in shades of silver-gray and wood-brown, of a soft texture and glossy appearance. The word is said to be a corruption of Chinese pun ki, "own loom," or pun chi, "own weaving," as if home-made; according to other authorities the word pongee is derived from pon chi, "native silk." However, the heathen Chinee is tricky, and all silks woven in China at the present time are stamped with one or other of these phrases. Native pongee silk resembles the Tusar silk of India, woven principally in the province of Shantung, from the cocoons of a wild silk worm which feeds on the leaves of the scrub oak. The finest kinds, bleached, dyed or figured, after importation are known in the trade as China silks.