Carpets were originally made by hand, now the majority of them are woven on power looms. Brussels, Wilton, Velvet and Axminster are the principal kinds. There are also machine-made Oriental, ingrain, rag, fiber and grass carpets and rugs. All carpets and rugs are made of warp threads which are set lengthwise in the loom and woof threads set crosswise. All carpets and rugs are divided into the following classes:
May be used on either side, as rag, ingrain, fiber and grass.
Have uncut pile as Body Brussels and Tapestry.
Are Wilton, Axminster and Velvet.
Are made by looping yarn over a series of long wires; when weaving is completed the wires are withdrawn, leaving loops in the yarn.
The quality of Brussels rugs may be judged by the number of loops to a square inch, the kind of backing and whether the surface thread shows on the backing. For each loop or tuft on the surface, there are four strands of yarn buried in the body. This gives the Body Brussels its name. They are all worsted and dyed in the yarn. The loops are not as high as the pile of a Wilton. Body Brussels is the best of this type and is very serviceable.
Tapestry is an imitation of the Brussels, made according to the same principle. It is a loop faced fabric, with a wool surface. The design is printed on the threads before weaving. The yarn is all used up on the surface and none is carried to the back. Because the design is printed on the thread, it is not so clearly outlined on the finished rug.
Wilton rugs are woven in the same way as the Brussels, except when the wires are withdrawn, a sharp knife on the end cuts each loop. This leaves a straight, long, upstanding pile. A real Wilton rug is dyed in the yarn, and a greater amount of pure, worsted yarn is used in it than in any other rug. Colors in the surface yarns are carried to the back as in the Brussels. The wearing qualities of the Wilton are excellent.
Axminster rugs are of the cut-pile type. The yarn is dyed and the surface is of wool. They are woven somewhat on the same principle as the Wilton, but the method adapts itself to a greater variety in color and design. They are not so heavy and not so closely woven, which makes them less expensive. The Axminster is a very serviceable and economical type of rug. Although the wearing qualities are not so good as in the Wilton or Brussels, it is exceedingly good for the price.
Velvet rugs also have cut-pile and resemble the Wilton. They are made exactly on the same principle as the Tapestry, except that the loops are cut. It has wool only on the surface and the design is printed in the thread before weaving. Velvet corresponds to Tapestry, as Wilton does to Brussels in the process of making as well as wearing qualities.
Oriental rugs are hand woven by people of the Eastern Countries. They are dyed in the yarn with vegetable dyes. The designs are all symbolical. The value depends upon age, quality of material and richness of color and design. The real Orientals are exquisite and wear wonderfully well. They are extremely expensive and out of reach of the moderate income. There are many machine-made or American Orientals on the market at the present time that are very fine imitations of the real Oriental. Most of them are Wiltons with Oriental designs.
Fiber and grass rugs have been very popular for porches and are sometimes used for other rooms in the house. These rugs usually have a cotton warp and a filling of wool fiber, flax, grass or twisted paper. Dyes are not very lasting in these rugs, but they may be freshened by brushing on new dye.
In comparison to the price of these rugs, they are fairly durable and good in design and color.
Linoleum is the most commonly used covering for kitchen, pantry and bathroom floors, and is used to some extent in the other rooms in the house. Linoleum may be the neutral background for other furnishings, or it may be the decorative element in the room. It must be chosen according to the same principles in design as other floor coverings.
Linoleum is made of linseed oil and ground cork. It is mixed to a plastic mass and applied to a burlap backing. There are three standard types of linoleum, plain, printed and inlaid.
The color of plain linoleum is put into the mixture before it is applied to the backing. Only one color is used. In this case, color extends to the backing and is good as long as the linoleum lasts. Plain colors show soil very easily. Plain linoleums are protected if they are kept waxed.
Printed linoleum is simply plain linoleum with a design stamped on the surface. The design will wear off. Varnish is a great protection to this type of linoleum.
Inlaid linoleum is the type in which the patterns are made separately and pressed into the backing. The colors are always good. To distinguish between an inlaid and printed linoleum, examine the cut edge. If the color extends to the backing in all designs, it is inlaid. To protect inlaid linoleum, it should be waxed.