Carpet History: Where It All Started In the U.S


In the United States the revolutionary carpet industry began in 1791, when William Sprague created the first woven carpet mill in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Included in the New England area was Beattie Manufacturing Company in Little Falls, New Jersey, a company that operated until closing there doors in 1979.carpet cleaning boca raton

Carpet History

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

In 1839, Erastus Bigelow recreated the carpet industry forever with the introduction of his new invention “The power loom” for weaving carpets. Bigelow’s loom, which doubled the 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, and in doing so 35 separate patents were issued to him between 1839 and 1876. Bigelow introduced the first broadloom carpet to the world 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 has very slight modifications making possible the manufacture of Wilton carpet. Later, the Hartford Carpet Company joined with Clinton Company to become Bigelow Carpet Company.

In 1878, four Shuttleworth brothers brought 14 looms from England and established their manufacturing plant in Amsterdam, New York naming the company Mohawk, after the river that bears the same name. In 1905, the company introduced a new carpet, Karnak Wilton. Its success record breaking. Flooded with orders, a new building had to be constructed just to handle the work orders for Karnak production exclusively. Weavers worked four and five years without changing either the color or pattern on their looms, that is how high in demand these carpets were for the time.

Alexander Smith began his journey into the industrialization of the carpet world in 1845 in West Farms, New York. An American, Halcyon Skinner, had perfected the power loom for making Royal Axminster, in 1876. He and Alexander Smith combined, forming an extremely 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 tent duck and navy blankets. In 1929 Alexander Smith & Sons was the largest manufacturer of carpets and rugs in the world.

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