Origin- Varieties - Prices - Spring Cleaning - Weekly and Daily Care - To Remove Grease, Oil, or Ink Stains - To Renovate Colours - Stair Carpets - Underlays - Floor Coverings - Linoleums - Cork Carpet and Oilcloth -Mattings - Cleaning of Mattings - Care - Price - Advantages and Disadvantages of Carpet Sweepers.
ORIGIN, The word carpet is derived from an old Italian word "carpetta," signifying a covering for floors. They are of very ancient origin, the Babylonians being specially renowned for their manufacture. It is uncertain when they were first used in England. In the twelfth century it was considered a great luxury to have the floors covered with clean straw. Queen Elizabeth is known to have had a Turkey carpet in her audience chamber. They have not been made in England on a large scale much over a hundred years; the art having been introduced into London in the reign of George 11. (1750) by two men from France.
BRUSSELS carpets, which are largely manufactured at Kidderminster, wear splendidly, and are much cheaper than formerly; "five ply" are very durable, and for 4/2 or 3/9 per yard very good qualities may be purchased. They are made by passing threads through a canvas over a wire, which is afterwards drawn out, leaving the loops. A Brussels carpet may always be recognized by the pattern showing through on the wrong side. It is usually about 27 inches wide.
TAPESTRY carpets at a first glance resemble Brussels; but as they are only 3 ply there is much less wool on the surface, and the canvas can be seen between the loops; the pattern in this case does not show on the back. It is not to be recommended for rooms where there is much hard wear. It is the same width as Brussels, and average qualities vary in price from i/io to 2/9 per yard.
WILTONS, which are noted for their rich "plushy " appearance, are manufactured in a somewhat similar mode to the Brussels; but the loops are cut before the wires are drawn out. They are 27 inches wide, and the cost is usually from 4/11 to 6/6 per yard.
AXMINSTERS are also pile carpets, and have the same rich aspect; the wool used is slightly coarser, and the pile is a little longer than in Wilton carpets. They are the usual width, and cost about 4/6 to 6/6 per yard.
KIDDERMINSTER carpets are suited for bedrooms rather than sitting-rooms. They are reversible, can be washed, and carpet may be bought by the yard of the same patterns as the woven squares. These three peculiarities recommend them to the economically-minded. On the other hand, they quickly stretch and form rucks or wrinkles; they soon lose their freshness, and are so porous that quantities of dust go through, necessitating their being taken up frequently.
These carpets now have many names, such as "Pembroke," "Woodstock," etc.; and many art squares, such as the "Dura" and the "Roman," are all varieties of the same material. Ordinary Kidderminster is 36 inches wide, and a good quality costs about 1/ 11 3/4 per yard. The squares vary from 19/- to £2, according to size and quality.
HEMP carpets are very tough; but not being wool their colour quickly fades, and they become dingy. They are a yard wide, and cost 1/ 1 3/4 per yard.
JUTE SQUARES, which are an imitation of Turkey, soon lose their bright colour, and are apt to appear dirty.
PLAIN SELF-COLOURED FELTS may be had in several shades; they are used as a surround to a contrasting carpet, or as a cover for the whole floor; rugs being laid thereon. They run to 48 inches wide, and cost 2/11 1/2 per yard.
Coloured patterned felts, or DRUGGETINGS, run about 45 inches wide, and cost 1/6 3/4 per yard; they are not durable.
TURKEY carpets are mostly sold to bazaar-keepers, and then to European buyers who represent our large firms. These carpets are not made in factories, each worker having his loom in his own home. The pattern is usually a reproduction from memory of one taught by father or grandfather. English machine-made or Anglo-Turkey carpets wear well; but the dyes do not equal the foreign ones, as native plants which we cannot obtain are used in their manufacture. The price of a square 3 yards x 4 yards in the latter would be ,£10 10s.; the same size in the Anglo-Turkey being £9 9s.
ANATOLIAN carpets are a modern Eastern fabric, closely resembling, but superior to, Turkey carpets, and only made in Anatolia. It is calculated that there are 30,000 hand-made knots in every square yard. A carpet of the before-mentioned size would cost£16 16s.
PERSIAN carpets, which are somewhat similar, are usually copies from the old Persian prayer-rugs.
AUBUSSON carpets are of French manufacture, hand-made, and very costly. They require to be firmly fixed, as, being so light in weight, they are liable to stretch and wrinkle.