Carpets originated in Asia where they are known to have been used for over 2000 years!
These early carpets were rough cured skins. These were introduced to Europe by the Crusaders. By the 17th Century, carpet manufacturing was well established in France and Spain.
The early 18th century saw the first woven loop carpets produced in England. The Earl of Pembroke employed Flemish weavers to set up production of their ‘Brussels’ carpets at his home in Wilton.
Hand-knotted carpets came into England from France around 1750 and were made in London, Axminster and Wilton.
In 1801, Joseph Marie Jacquard of Lyon, France exhibited a revolutionary device for patterned loom weaving. His invention simplified the weaving process by rendering the designs permanently on punch cards, enabling the constant repetitions of set designs.
The first Jacquard loom arrived in England in 1825 and has basically remained unchanged to this day. Kidderminster became the centre or carpet manufacturing in England.
The beginning of the 20th century saw the scale implementation of knotting looms, followed by many refinements to traditional weaving processes.
A very significant development was that of tufting, a complete departure from traditional weaving. It originated in the USA and arrived in Britain after the Second World War. These new fast machines were able to produce affordable carpeting at a time when the public wished to furnish their ‘modern’ homes with fitted carpets. The development of broadloom carpets made fitted carpeting available to a larger population.
In 1947 the first man-made fibre was used in carpet pile in the United Kingdom.
The early 50’s saw the large scale introduction of synthetic fibres into both the woven and tufted industry. Increasingly sophisticated forms of nylon and acrylic began to appear. Chemical technology was also applied to methods of dyeing and latex application.
In 1960 the first 80% wool / 20% nylon blends were used and in 1964 the widespread introduction of screen printed tufted carpets came about. Development and use of polypropylene for carpet backing arrived in the 1970’s.
Chemical advancements include the formation of soil resistant and stain release treatments.
Today the carpet industry can be proud of its growth since its humble beginning in the 18th century.