A History of the Carpet Loom

Which American Carpet Mill has all three types of carpet weaves?

For thousands of years, carpets have added beauty and luxurious comfort to living spaces. Although it is not known exactly when and where the first carpets were made, historians believe carpets were first produced either by nomadic peoples to use as floor coverings or by settled populations as artistic decorations. A carpet found in the tomb of a Shiite chief in the Pazyryk Valley of Siberia dates to the 5th Century B.C. Its intricate design and fine workmanship provided both insulation from the elements and ornamentation.

Early Looms. Looms hold the longitudinal warp threads under tension while the transverse weft threads are interwoven in the warp. The vertical loom used by early nomads to weave carpets was a warp-weighted loom, with the warp thread hanging from a rod and weighted at the ends. This loom was easily dismantled and carried as the group traveled. By the 10th Century, settled societies produced carpets on horizontal treadle looms, which allowed for longer warp threads and more intricate design opportunities. And the weaver could sit while working!

Carpet Looms in America. Carpet looms made their way to America in the late 1700s. In 1791, William Sprague established the first woven carpet mill in Philadelphia; soon other mills opened throughout New England. By 1839, Erasmus Bigelow developed the first carpet power loom, a mechanized loom propelled by a line shaft. Replacing the making of carpets by hand loom, the invention greatly enhanced carpet production in America.

Loom Additions. A Jacquard mechanism was added to the power loom in 1849. Using punched cards with holes that correspond to rows of design, the Jacquard loom is a precursor to the first punch card computers. The Jacquard loom creates opulent carpets – Axminster carpet with cut pile in intricate design patterns of up to 12 colors and beautiful Wilton carpet in which the multi-color design is combined with different pile options. A velvet loom employs a wire system, resulting in a wide variety of textures and colors and a thick soft pile. Because of their plushness, sound-dampening ability and beauty, Wilton and velvet weave carpets have graced the US House of Representatives since 1902. 

Bloomsburg Carpets Made in America. Bloomsburg Carpet, based in the Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania, is the only American mill that weaves Axminster, Velvet and Wilton carpet all in one location. Bloomsburg's state-of-the-art mill produces carpets from the highest grade materials, overseen by weavers passionate about their product and their art. Their exquisite designs, elegant textures and sumptuous pile bring timeless beauty and endless function to your home or office. And Bloomsburg carpets are all made in America, with superior and accessible service and rapid domestic shipping. Find a carpet agent or dealer near you – or to learn more about our plant and our products, contact us today.

To learn more about wool carpeting benefits and care, contact Bloomsburg Carpet Inc. today.

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