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Do You Know How Tufted Carpets Came About?

Aug 7, 2008
A look a the history of tufted carpets proves to be very intriguing. It all began with a Georgia woman in the 1890s. Catherine Evans Whitener began hand crafting tufted products. Her crafts were so popular that it soon became a craze that spread throughout Tennessee, Georgia and the Carolina's.

The 1930s showed Singer, a producer of small sewing machines, adapting his machines to the tufted textile industry. This allowed companies to quickly generate large quantities of robes, throw rugs, toilet covers and bedspreads. By the 1940s, the tufted-textile industry had progressed into a very profitable one.

The popularity of the tufted carpet grew so quickly that manufacturers and machine developers quickly found it necessary to adapt the tufting machines used for making bedspreads to have the ability to mass produce rugs that were room sized and to make wall-to-wall carpeting. Mohawk, out of New York, largely dominated the high-priced carpet industry until the 1950s, using power looms and expensive natural wool fibers.

During the 1950s, companies like E.T. Barwick Mills and Cabin Crafts, based in Georgia, started using their tufting machines and large pieces of backing material to create a new era of less expensive carpeting. Instead of the expensive wool fibers, these manufacturers were using the less costly fiber of cotton.

This enabled them to produce carpets and rugs that resembled the expensive woven products. Efficiency was the greatest benefit to the new tufting process and enabled manufacturers to sell new carpets and rugs for half the price of the woven wool rugs.

Tufted carpets soon became one of the most controversial products being manufactured, when producers of wool carpets began putting them down, claiming the cotton made them a low quality product. The industry was saved in 1957, however, when a company named DuPont began selling a new product called bulked, continuous filament nylon.

Like cotton, the new nylon was inexpensive, yet performed as well as wool. It also could be sold for half of the square foot price of wool. This made the carpet industry one of the fastest growing in the 1960s.

Four companies controlled the majority of the carpeting industry in the year 2000. Beaulieu, Mohawk, Shaw and Interface were the four companies that produced 80% of the carpets made in the United States. The newest company in the group was Interface.

Interface chose not to get into the residential carpet market, and instead ventured into the relatively new commercial carpeting market. This was when the tufted carpets industry was introduced to "modular carpeting," or floor mats.
About the Author
Get your FREE carpet gift and the best information on the tufted carpets at Mike Selvon's portal, and leave a comment at our carpet tiles blog.
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