The British have a love affair with carpets. Carpeting has great insulating properties and adds a sense of luxury and comfort to a room, but it might come as a surprise to find out just how long we humans have been using them.
Rugs of the Orient
The most famous historical rugs are obviously Oriental Rugs. But exactly how long rugs have been used in Asia might surprise you. Experts believe the people of the Caspian Sea areas have been using them for around 4000 years. The oldest surviving carpet, The Pazyryk dates from 500 AD.
As early as 1000 AD, English crusaders were pillaging Asian rugs, alongside gold and treasures to bring back to decorate their rooms. Tapestries from these times show the rugs hung on walls and over doors. So we still used them for warmth, but they were far too good to walk on. In fact, rugs didn’t begin to grace the floors of Britain until the mid-18th century.
Demand for Asian rugs in Britain began long before we started walking on them. Henry IV was probably the first Brit to consider making his own. He started the production of Turkish style rugs in 1608. But industrious Brits, keen to reap the benefits, also began making their own ‘knotted pile’ rugs much earlier in the 1500s. These basic rugs were known later as Norwichs, however, few of these survive today.
Wall to Wall Carpeting
It wasn’t until 1755 that Thomas Whitty started using a broadloom to make carpets. Prior to this, the technology of the time just wasn’t up to the task. In the grand scheme of things, the bobbin style carpeting which is available to buy on long rolls, is a relatively new invention.
But we never fell out of love with the rug. These days we simply place it on top of our carpets instead.