History of Carpet

19 Oct.,2022


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The carpet industry in the United States began in 1791 when William Sprague started the first woven carpet mill in Philadelphia. Others opened in New England during the early 1800s Beattie Manufacturing Company in Little Falls, New Jersey operated from 1840 until 1979.

In 1839, Erastus Bigelow permanently reshaped the industry with the invention of the power loom for weaving carpets. Bigelow’s loom, which doubled carpet production the first year after its creation and tripled it by 1850, is now part of the Smithsonian Institution’s collections. He continued to devote his life to innovation — obtaining 35 separate patents between 1839 and 1876. Bigelow introduced the first broadloom carpet in 1877.

The power loom with Jacquard mechanism was developed in 1849, and Brussels carpet was first manufactured by the Clinton Company of Massachusetts. The Brussels loom was slightly modified, making possible the manufacture of Wilton carpet. Later, the Hartford Carpet Company joined with Clinton Company to become Bigelow Carpet Company.

In 1878, four brothers brought 14 looms from England and established manufacturing facilities as the Shuttleworth Brothers Company in Amsterdam, New York. In 1905, the company introduced a new carpet, Karnak Wilton. Its instant success was phenomenal. Flooded with orders, the brothers had to construct a new building exclusively to handle Karnak production. Weavers worked four and five years without changing either the color or pattern on their looms. In 1920, Shuttleworth Brothers Company merged with another Amsterdam-based carpet manufacturer, McCleary Wallin & Crouse. They called the new company Mohawk Carpet Mills, after the Mohawk River that flows through the city.

Alexander Smith started his carpet manufacturing plant in 1845 in West Farms, New York. An American, Halcyon Skinner, had perfected the power loom for making Royal Axminster in 1876. Skinner and Smith combined their businesses to form a very successful carpet company. Alexander Smith was elected to Congress in 1878 but died on the evening of Election Day. Sixteen hundred people were employed at his factory at the time of his death. Alexander Smith & Sons continued. During World War I, the carpet looms were converted to make supplies for the war effort. In 1929, Alexander Smith & Sons was the largest manufacturer of carpets and rugs in the world.