A carpet is a textile floor covering typically consisting of an upper layer of Pile (textile) attached to a backing. The pile was traditionally made from wool, but, since the 20th century, synthetic fibers such as polypropylene, nylon or polyester are often used, as these fibers are less expensive than wool. The pile usually consists of twisted tufts which are typically heat-treated to maintain their structure. The term "carpet" is often used interchangeably with the term "rug", although the term "carpet" can be applied to a floor covering that covers an entire house, whereas a "rug" is generally no bigger than a single room, and traditionally does not even span from one wall to another, and is typically not even attached as part of the floor.
Carpets are used for a variety of purposes, including insulating a person's feet from a cold tile or concrete floor, making a room more comfortable as a place to sit on the floor (e.g., when playing with children or as a prayer rug), reducing sound from walking (particularly in apartment buildings) and adding decoration or colour to a room. Carpets can be made in any colour by using differently dyed fibers. Carpets can have many different types of patterns and motifs used to decorate the surface. In the 2000s, carpets are used in industrial and commercial establishments such as retail stores and hotels and in private homes. In the 2010s, a huge range of carpets and rugs are available at many price and quality levels, ranging from inexpensive, synthetic carpets that are mass production in factory and used in commercial buildings to costly hand-knotted wool rugs which are used in private homes of wealthy families.
Carpets can be produced on a loom quite similar to woven fabric, made using needle felts, knotted by hand (in oriental rugs), made with their pile injected into a backing material (called tufting), flatwoven, made by hooking wool or cotton through the meshes of a sturdy fabric or embroidery. Carpet is commonly made in widths of in the USA, 4 m and 5 m in Europe. Since the 20th century, where necessary for wall-to-wall carpet, different widths of carpet can be seamed together with a seaming iron and seam tape (formerly it was sewing together) and fixed to a floor over a cushioned underlay (pad) using nails, tack strips (known in the UK as gripper rods), adhesives, or occasionally decorative metal stair rods. Wall-to-wall carpet is distinguished from rugs or mats, which are loose-laid floor coverings, as wall-to-wall carpet is fixed to the floor and covers a much larger area.
Child labour has often been used in Asia for hand knotting rugs. The GoodWeave labelling scheme used throughout Europe and North America assures that child labour has not been used: importers pay for the labels, and the revenue collected is used to monitor centres of production and educate previously exploited children.
The Armenian words for carpet are "karpet" (Armenian: կարպետ) or "gorg" (Armenian: գորգ). Though both words in Armenian are synonymous, word "karpet" is mostly used for non-pile rugs and "gorg" is for a pile carpet.
Two of the most frequently used terms to designate woven woolen floor coverings emanate directly from the Armenian experience: carpet and kali/khali. The term "karpet" (Armenian: կապերտ), formed of root "kap" (Armenian: կապ) that means "knot", later to become "karpet" (Armenian: կարպետ) in colloquial Armenian, is used in the 5th-century Armenian translation of the Bible (Matthew 9:16 and Mark 2:21). Francesco Balducci Pegolotti, a Florentine merchant stationed in Cyprus, reported in his La pratica della mercatura that from 1274 to 1330, carpets (kaperts) were imported from the Armenian cities of Ayas and Sis to Florence.
The term "carpet" is often used interchangeably with the term "rug". Some sources define a carpet as stretching from wall to wall.How It's Made, Season 2, Episode 7 Another definition treats rugs as of lower quality or of smaller size, with carpets quite often having finished ends. A third common definition is that a carpet is permanently fixed in place while a rug is simply laid out on the floor. Historically, the term "carpet" was also applied to table and wall coverings, as carpets were not commonly used on the floor in European interiors until the 15th century.
The term "rug" was first used in English in the 1550s, with the meaning "coarse fabric". The term is of "...Scandinavian origin; compare Norwegian dialectal rugga "coarse coverlet," from Old Norse rogg "shaggy tuft," from Proto-Germanic *rawwa-, perhaps related to rag (n.) and rough (adj.)."[http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=rug Online Etymology Dictionary] The meaning of "rug" "...evolved to "coverlet, wrap" (1590s), then "mat for the floor" (1808)".
There are several styles of knotting, but the two main types of knot are the symmetrical (also called Turkish or Ghiordes knot) and asymmetrical (also called Persian or Senna knot). Contemporary centres of knotted carpet production are: Lahore and Peshawar (Pakistan), Kashmir (India), Mirzapur, Bhadohi, Tabriz (Iran), Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Northern Africa, Nepal, Spain, Turkmenistan, and Tibetan rugs. The importance of carpets in the culture of Turkmenistan is such that Flag of Turkmenistan features a vertical red stripe near the hoist side, containing five carpet guls (designs used in producing rugs). Kashmir is known for handknotted carpets of silk or wool. Child labour has often been used in Asia for hand knotting rugs. The GoodWeave labelling scheme used throughout Europe and North America assures that child labour has not been used: importers pay for the labels, and the revenue collected is used to monitor centres of production and educate previously exploited children.
A hooked rug is a simple type of rug handmade by pulling strips of cloth such as wool or cotton through the meshes of a sturdy fabric such as burlap. This type of rug is now generally made as a handicraft. The process of creating a hooked rug is called Rug hooking
Unlike woven carpets, embroidery carpets' are not formed on a loom. Their pattern is established by the application of stitch (textile arts) to a cloth (often linen) base. The tent stitch and the cross stitch are two of the most common. Embroidered carpets were traditionally made by royal and aristocratic women in the home, but there has been some commercial manufacture since steel needles were introduced (earlier needles were made of bone) and linen weaving improved in the 16th century. Mary, Queen of Scots, is known to have been an avid embroiderer. 16th century designs usually involve scrolling vines and regional flowers (for example, the Bradford carpet). They often incorporate animal heraldry and the coat of arms of the maker. Production continued through the 19th century. Victorian era embroidered carpet compositions include highly illusionistic, 3-dimensional flowers. Patterns for tiled carpets made of a number of squares, called Berlin wool work, were introduced in Germany in 1804, and became extremely popular in England in the 1830s. Embroidered carpets can also include other features such as a pattern of shapes, or they can even tell a story.
Another polyester, "PTT" (Polytrimethylene terephthalate), also called Sorona or 3GT (Dupont) or Corterra (Shell), is a variant of PET. Lurgi Zimmer PTT was first patented in 1941, but it was not produced until the 1990s, when Shell Chemicals developed the low-cost method of producing high-quality 1,3 propanediol (PDO), the starting raw material for PTT Corterra Polymers. DuPont subsequently commercialized a biological process for making 1,3-propanediol from corn syrup, imparting significant Renewable resource content on the corresponding Sorona polyester carpet fibers. These carpet fibers have resiliency comparable to nylon.
Although claimed by many cultures, this square tufted carpet, almost perfectly intact, is considered by many experts to be of Caucasian, specifically Armenian, origin. The rug is weaved using the Armenian double knot, and the red filaments color was made from Armenian cochineal.Ashkhunj Poghosyan, :File:Ashkhunj Poghosyan, On origin of Pazyryk rug, Yerevan, 2013(2).pdf (PDF) pp. 1-21 The carpets are made in Afghanistan, as well as by Afghan refugees who reside in Pakistan and Iran. Famous Afghan rugs include the ''Shindand, Herat'' or ''Adraskan'' (named after local Afghan villages), woven in the Herat Province area in western Afghanistan.
Afghan carpets are commonly known as Afghan rugs. Afghan carpets are a unique and well recognized handmade material design that originates from Afghanistan. They often exhibit intricate detailing, mainly using traditional tribal designs originating from the Turkmen, Kazakh, Baloch, and Uzbeks. The hand-made rugs come in many patterns and colors, yet the traditional and most common example of Afghan carpet is the octagon-shaped elephant-foot (Bukhara). The rugs with this print are most commonly red in color. Many dyes, such as vegetable dyes, are used to impart rich color.
The historian Herodotus writing in the 5th century BC also informs us that the inhabitants of the Caucasus wove beautiful rugs with brilliant colors which would never fade. Various rug fragments have been excavated in Armenia dating back to the 7th century BC or earlier. The oldest, single, surviving knotted carpet in existence is the Pazyryk carpet, excavated from a frozen tomb in Siberia, dated from the 5th to the 3rd century BC, now in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. This square tufted carpet, almost perfectly intact, is considered by many experts to be of Caucasian, specifically Armenian, origin. The eminent authority of ancient carpets, Ulrich Schurmann, says of it, "From all the evidence available I am convinced that the Pazyryk rug was a funeral accessory and most likely a masterpiece of Armenian workmanship".[https://archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22Ulrich%20Schurmann%22 Ulrich Schurmann, The Pazyryk. Its Use and Origin, Munich, 1982, p.46] Gantzhorn concurs with this thesis. At the ruins of Persepolis in Iran where various nations are depicted as bearing tribute, the horse design from the Pazyryk carpet is the same as the relief depicting part of the Armenian delegation.
Armenian carpets were renowned by foreigners who travelled to Artsakh; the Arab geographer and historian Al-Masudi noted that, among other works of art, he had never seen such carpets elsewhere in his life.
Art historian Hravard Hakobyan notes that "Artsakh carpets occupy a special place in the history of Armenian carpet-making."Hakobyan. ''Medieval Art of Artsakh'', p. 84. Common themes and patterns found on Armenian carpets were the depiction of dragons and eagles. They were diverse in style, rich in colour and ornamental motifs, and were even separated in categories depending on what sort of animals were depicted on them, such as ''artsvagorgs'' (eagle-carpets), ''vishapagorgs'' (dragon-carpets) and ''otsagorgs'' (serpent-carpets). The rug mentioned in the Kaptavan inscriptions is composed of three arches, "covered with vegatative ornaments", and bears an artistic resemblance to the illuminated manuscripts produced in Artsakh.
The art of carpet weaving was in addition intimately connected to the making of curtains as evidenced in a passage by Kirakos Gandzaketsi, a 13th-century Armenian historian from Artsakh, who praised Arzu-Khatun, the wife of regional prince Vakhtang Khachenatsi, and her daughters for their expertise and skill in weaving. Kirakos Gandzaketsi. ''Պատմություն Հայոց '' (''History of Armenia''). Yerevan, Armenian SSR: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1961, p. 216, as cited in Hakobyan. ''Medieval Art of Artsakh'', p. 84, note 18.
Another category of Indian rugs which, though quite popular in most of the western countries, have not received much press, is hand-woven rugs of Khairabad (Citapore rugs). Khairabad, Sitapur small town in Citapore (now spelled as "Sitapur") district of India had been ruled by Raja Mehmoodabad. Khairabad (Mehmoodabad Estate) was part of Oudh province which had been ruled by shi'i Muslims having Persian linkages. Citapore rugs made in Khairabad and neighbouring areas are all hand-woven and distinct from tufted and knotted rugs. Flat weave is the basic weaving technique of Citapore rugs and generally cotton is the main weaving material here but jute, rayon and chenille are also popular. ''IKEA'' and ''Agocha'' have been major buyers of rugs from this area.
During the Moorish (Muslim) period production took place in Alcaraz in the province of Murcia, as well as being recorded in other towns. Carpet production after the Christian reconquest continued in Alcaraz while Cuenca, Spain, first recorded as a weaving centre in the 12th century, became increasingly important, and was dominant in the 17th and early 18th century. Carpets of completely different French based designs began to be woven in a royal workshop, the Royal Tapestry Factory ''(Real Fábrica de Tapices de Santa Bárbara)'' in Madrid in the 18th century. Cuenca was closed down by the royal degree of Carlos IV in the late 18th century to stop it competing with the new workshop. Madrid continued as a weaving centre through to the 20th century, producing brightly coloured carpets most of whose designs are strongly influenced by French carpet design, and which are frequently signed (on occasions with the monogram MD; also sometimes with the name Stuyck) and dated in the outer stripe. After the Spanish civil war General Franco revived the carpet weaving industry in workshops named after him, weaving designs that are influenced by earlier Spanish carpets, usually in a very limited range of colours.Sherrill, Sarah B. Carpets and Rugs of Europe and America. New York: Abbeville Press, 1996.
In the beginning of the 19th century plant dyes were replaced by aniline colourings. "The best product of the country is the Pirot carpet, worth about ten shillings a square metre. The designs are extremely pretty, and the rugs, without being so heavy as the Persian, or so ragged and scant in the web and woof as Caramanian, wear for ever. The manufacture of these is almost entirely confined to Pirot. From Pirots old Turkish signification as Şarköy stems the traditional trade name of the rugs as Şarköy-kilims. Stemming from the homonym to the today's Turkish settlement of Şarköy in Thracia, which had no established rug making tradition, Şarköys are often falsely ascribed to originate from Turkey. Also in the rug selling industry, Şarköy are mostly labeled as being of oriental or Turkish origin as to easier sell them to non familiar customers as they prefer rug with putative oriental origin. In fact, Şarköys have been established from the 17th century in the region of the Western Balkan or Stara Planina mountains in the towns of Pirot, Berkowiza, Lom, Chiprovtsi and Samokow. Later they have been also produced in Knjaževac and Caribrod.
Pierre-Josse Perrot is the best-known of the mid-eighteenth-century carpet designers. His many surviving works and drawings display graceful rococo s-scrolls, central rosettes, shells, acanthus leaves, and floral swags. The Savonnerie manufactory was moved to the Gobelins manufactory in Paris in 1826.(french) [https://books.google.com/books?id=bN_HkKC1xNUC&pg=PA47&dq=savonnerie+manufacture+gobelins+1826&hl=fr&ei=5frOTtrDD4f3sgbnm6XCDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&sqi=2&ved=0CEIQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=savonnerie%20manufacture%20gobelins%201826&f=false Jean Coural, ''Les Gobelins'', Nouvelles Editions Latines, 1989, p. 47] The Beauvais manufactory, better known for their tapestry, also made knotted pile carpets from 1780 to 1792. Carpet production in small, privately owned workshops in the town of Aubusson, Creuse began in 1743. Carpets produced in France employ the symmetrical knot.
Axminster carpet has three main types of broadloom carpet construction in use today (machine woven, tufted & hand knotted). Machine woven carpet is an investment that will last 20 or 30 years and woven Axminster and Wilton carpets are still extremely popular in areas where longevity and design flexibility are a big part of the purchasing decision. Hotels and leisure venues almost always choose these types and many homes use woven Axminsters as design statements.
Machine-woven carpets like Axminster and Wilton are made by massive looms that weave together ‘bobbins’ of carpet yarn and backing. The finished result, which can be intricately patterned, creates a floor that provides supreme underfoot luxury with high performance. Tufted carpets are also popular in the home. They are relatively speedy to make - a pre-woven backing has yarns tufted into it. Needles push the yarn through the backing and which is then held in place with underlying "loopers". Tufted carpets can be twist pile, velvet, or loop pile. Twist pile carpets are produced when one or more fibres are twisted in the tufting process, so that in the finished carpet they appear to be bound together. Velvet pile carpets tend to have a shorter pile and a tighter construction, giving the finished article a smooth, velvety appearance. Loop pile carpets are renowned for being hard wearing and lend carpets great texture. The traditional domain of rugs from far away continents, hand knotted squares and rugs use the expertise of weavers to produce work of the finest quality. Traditional rugs often feature a deliberate ‘mistake’ on behalf of the weaver to guarantee their authenticity.
Six of Axminster carpets are known as the "Lansdowne" group. These have a tripartite design with reeded circles and baskets of flowers in the central panel flanked by diamond lozenges in the side panels. Axminster Rococo designs often have a brown ground and include birds copied from popular, contemporary engravings. Even now a large percentage of the 55,000 population town still seek employment in this industry. The town of Wilton, Wiltshire is also known for its carpet weaving, which dates back to the 18th century.
The Brussels Loom was introduced into England towards the middle of the eighteenth century marked the beginning of a new era in carpet-weaving. It was the first loom on which a pile carpet could be woven mechanically, the pile consisting of rows of loops, formed over wires inserted weftwise during weaving and subsequently withdrawn. Brussels was the first type of carpet to be woven in a loom incorporating the jacquard pattern selecting mechanism and in 1849 power was applied to the loom by Biglow in the U.S.A.
Later when bladed wires were developed the pile loops were severed on withdrawal of the blade wires to produce a carpet known as Wilton, after this development the loom became known as the Wilton loom, and in modern usage the designation Wilton applies to both cut-pile and loop-pile carpets made in this loom. The latter now variously described as Brussels-Wilton, round wire Wilton, loop-pile Wilton, and round wired jacquard. The methods of manufacture, including the principles of designing, preparatory processes, and weaving, are the same in most respects for both Brussels and Wilton qualities. The chief difference between them is that whereas Brussels loop-pile is secured satisfactorily by the insertion of two picks of weft to each wire (2-shot), the Wilton cut-pile is woven more often with three picks of weft to each wire (3-shot) to ensure that the tufts are firmly secured in the carpet backing.
Brussels carpets have a smooth slightly ribbed surface and their patterning is well defined, a characteristic feature of the carpet. Closeness of pile rather than height contributes to their neat appearance and hard wearing properties, although they do not simulate the luxury of cut-pile carpets. Brussels Wilton Carpets were initially produced on 27-inch (3/4) looms and were sewn together by hand. The looms could incorporate up to 5 frames all with different colours thus enabling figured or pattern carpets to be manufactured. With judicial and very skilful planting of colours in the frames the number of colours could be increased to about twenty, thus enabling very complex designs to be produced. Due to the additional costs in labour these carpets were normally only produced for the bespoke market.
After the first World War the carpets started to be produced for the general market using popular designs and colourways but they always remained at the luxury end of the general market. The growing middle class of the twentieth century aspired to acquire a Wilton carpet for their 'best' room. Despite the impact of industrialization, the areas where Brussels Wilton carpets were produced remained centred mainly in the Midlands around the towns of Wilton and Kidderminster and in West Yorkshire where the firm of John Crossley and Sons in Halifax became synonymous with carpet manufacture. There were smaller areas of manufacture in Scotland and Durham. With the development of different manufacturing methods and looms capable of the mass production of carpets, the public began change their décor, including carpets, on a regular basis, which increased the demand for carpets. The last quarter of the 20th century saw the rapid decline of the labour-intensive Brussels Wilton carpets. Very few of the original ¾ Wilton looms still exist and the few that do are either in museums or used by small manufacturers that continue to produce bespoke (custom-made) luxury carpets for the elite and to replace carpets in historic buildings in the UK and abroad.''Carpets'' by George Robinson F.T.I., F.S.D.C. published 1966 Chap 7 Wilton Carpets page 72.
In the UK, some carpets are still manufactured for yachts, hotels, pubs and clubs in a narrow width of and then sewn to size. Carpeting which covers an entire room area is loosely referred to as 'wall-to-wall', but carpet can be installed over any portion thereof with use of appropriate transition moldings where the carpet meets other types of floor coverings. Carpeting is more than just a single item; it is, in fact, a system comprising the carpet itself, the carpet backing (often made of latex), the cushioning underlay, and a method of installation.
Carpet tiles are also available, typically square. These are usually only used in commercial settings and are affixed using a special pressure-sensitive glue, which holds them into place while allowing easy removal (in an office environment, for example) or to allow rearrangement in order to spread wear.Fletcher, Alan J. The Complete Carpet Buying Guide. Portland Oregon: AJ Books 2006.
"Carpet binding" is a term used for any material being applied to the edge of a carpet to make a rug. Carpet binding is usually cotton or nylon, but also comes in many other materials such as leather. Non-synthetic binding is frequently used with bamboo, grass and wool rugs, but is often used with carpet made from other materials.
In 1820s British servant slang, to "carpet" someone means to call them for a reprimand. To be ''called on the carpet'' means to be summoned for a serious reason, typically a scolding reprimand; this usage dates from 1900.[http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=carpet. Online Etymology Dictionary] A stronger variant of this expression, to be "hauled on the carpet", implies an even sterner reprimand. Carpet bombing is a type of bombing from airplanes which developed in the 20th century in which an entire city is bombed (rather than precise strikes on military targets). The slang expression "laugh at the carpet" means to vomit on the floor (especially a carpeted floor).[http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/carpet Carpet - Idioms by The Free Dictionary] The expression "on the carpet" refers to a matter which is under discussion or consideration. The term "carpet muncher" is a derogatory slang term for a lesbian; this expression is first attested in 1992.[http://www.dictionary.com/browse/carpet-muncher Carpet muncher | Define Carpet muncher at Dictionary.com]
The term carpet bag, which literally refers to a suitcase made from a piece of carpet, is used in several figurative contexts. The term gained a popular usage after the American Civil War to refer to carpetbaggers, Northerners who moved to the South after the war, especially during the Reconstruction Era of the United States (1865–1877). Carpetbaggers allegedly politically manipulated and controlled former Confederate states for financial and power gains. In modern usage in the U.S., the term is sometimes used derisively to refer to a politician who runs for public office in an area where he or she does not have deep community ties, or has lived only for a short time. In the United Kingdom, the term was adopted to refer informally to those who join a mutual organization, such as a building society, in order to force it to Demutualization, that is, to convert into a joint stock company, solely for personal financial gain.
''Cutting the rug'' is a slang term for dancing which originated in 1942. The use of the term "rug" as an informal term for a "toupee" (man's wig) is theater slang from 1940. The term "sweep [something] under the rug" or "sweep [something] under the carpet" figuratively refers to situations where a person or organization is hiding something embarrassing or negative; this use was first recorded in 1953. The figurative expression "pull the rug out from under (someone)", meaning to "suddenly deprive of important support" is first attested to in 1936, in American English. A related figurative expression used centuries earlier was "cut the grass under (one's) feet", which is attested to in the 1580s. A "rugrat" or "rug-rat" is a slang term for a baby or child, first attested in 1968. The expression "snug as a bug in a rug" means
"wrapped up tight, warm, and comfortable".[http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/snug+as+a+bug+in+a+rug Snug as a bug in a rug - Idioms by The Free Dictionary] To "lie like a rug" means "to tell lies shamelessly".[http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/lie+like+a+rug Lie like a rug - Idioms by The Free Dictionary] The expression "pull the rug out (from under someone)" means "to make someone or someone's plans fall through" or "to upset someone's plans".[http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/pull+the+rug+out Pull the rug out - Idioms by The Free Dictionary]