Carpet – A Little History

A carpeted home is something we take for granted. Step back in time to the early 1800s and the average home would have been very different. Unfinished hardwood floors were not uncommon in the United States, and a rug laid out in a sitting room was something of a luxury for the average family. Even affluent families would have found it hard to afford carpeting in all of their rooms.

This all changed with the industrial revolution and automated looms. Before the introduction of mechanized looms, carpets were hand woven in methods similar to those used for Persian and Oriental rugs to this day. Just as these rugs command a price premium today, the case was the same 200 years ago.

1791 was an important year in the history of carpets as Philadelphia became home to the first woven carpet mill. By the early 1800s there were mills popping up all around New England providing more cost effective carpeting solutions for a growing middle class.

Some of the early players in the modern carpet industry still have a legacy in the industry today. Bigelow carpets are known throughout America as some of the most durable, attractive, and cost effective flooring options. Erastus Bigelow invented a powered loom in the early 1800s that would go on to triple productivity in carpet production by the 1850. Bigelow was such a prolific inventor that he went on to patent 45 technologies relating to carpet and textile manufacture, always in pursuit of the most efficient methods that would produce quality carpets. Today his name lives on through the Bigelow carpet lines.

As manufacturing technologies advanced and new materials came, Americans witnessed the advent of affordable carpets, and you will find carpet in almost every home in the country today. Carpets are great for insulation, they reduce energy costs, and most importantly they create a timeless, elegant, and comfortable look which can transform a house in to a true home to be proud of.

Today we have a variety of cut pile design carpets, we predominantly use long lasting nylon instead of wool, we can make use of special backing that increases durability and comfort, and there are even options for advanced treatments like Scotchgard which help to resist stains and odor. We even have outdoor carpets that resist UV rays, moisture, and bacteria.

Next time you’re looking for carpets for use in remodeling or a new home, take a moment to consider the history that helped bring you the hi-tech carpets of today. Names like Bigelow and Mohawk are examples of the pioneers that shaped the industry, and you’ll still find their names on some of the most trusted carpets in America.