The History of Carpets
Many centuries ago, shepherds began knotting wool into heavy woven cloth. These heavy cloths were developed into rugs that provided protection from the elements. Whether the first rugs were made in the Middle East or Siberia is not clear, but it is clear that over the centuries, rug making changed from a craft to a fine art form. The patterns, vibrant colours, and many knots per square inch produced beautiful rugs.
These early artisans showed amazing skill and ingenuity in designing, dyeing, and producing these prized rugs. Established trade routes carried this skill to China. When a personal prayer rug became a tradition of Islam, the spread of this religion to Spain and Eastern Europe took the necessity of rug making with it. The Crusades further exposed Europe to these rug-making skills.
Wars also spread the desire for and creation of rugs. Persians that were captured by the Turks became skilled Artisans.
The commercial carpet industry had its beginnings in England. This commercialisation soon made names of English towns like Axminster and Wilton synonymous with rugs. It was an American, who invented the power loom to manufacture Wilton carpets in l848. For many years the only width available for this carpet was 27 inches. These carpet strips were sewn together so carefully that the seams were barely noticeable. These woven wool carpet of Oriental design dominated carpet production until the 1940’s when the manufacturer of tufted carpet was developed. In the U.K. tufted carpets has grown from a ten percent market share in 1960, to an over 90% share of the market at the present time. Three relatively new methods are now used to produce some specially types of carpet; they are Needle punched, Flocked, or Knitted carpets.