A History of the United States Carpet Industry

September 22, 2017 4:15 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Most of us benefit from carpet every day, but rarely do we stop to think where carpet comes from, and how it became the widespread flooring product it is today. With that in mind, we’ve prepared a miniature history lesson for you on the growth of the U.S. carpet industry.

The beginning of the U.S. carpet industry

The U.S. carpet industry began by simply borrowing the techniques and machinery of the British carpet industry. In the time immediately following the Industrial Revolution until nearly the beginning of the 20th century, carpet flooring in South Amboy, NJ was a necessity for most homes, as the floors were often made out of such unsightly materials that they couldn’t be left uncovered. Today’s varnished hardwood wasn’t really a popular flooring option until the second half of the 19th century.

Initial growth of the industry (Industrial Revolution to 1920s)

Early on, carpet production was expensive, because carpets were hand loomed and woven of relatively expensive wool. Even so, by 1850 the United States was weaving more than 8 million square yards of carpets and rugs per year. When the carpet industry adopted power looms in the 1870s and developed less costly materials from which to construct their carpets, production really took off, quickly growing from 20 million square yards in 1870 to 83 million square yards in 1923.

Decline of the industry (1920s to 1950s)

Despite this growth and relatively steady demand, the U.S. carpet industry was not really able to compete with imports from the U.K., which led to a steady decline of the industry in the U.S. from 1920 to 1950.

The resurgence of the U.S. carpet industry

In the 1950s, the U.S. carpet industry, like many domestic industries, saw a great boom in production and demand. In the years following World War II, U.S. citizens had unprecedented wealth, opportunity and buying power.

Carpet mills in South Carolina, Virginia, Mississippi and Georgia saw massive growth and investment in the early 1950s. New budget-friendly forms of carpeting were created using synthetic materials, as were new luxury forms of carpet, providing carpet choices for every budget. Today, 45 percent of all of the carpet produced worldwide is produced in the southern U.S.

The carpet industry today

Carpet is still a crucial part of everyday life here in America, as it has long been the most popular flooring choice nationwide—but it’s undoubtedly true that the industry has slowed down from its initial boom. Expensive labor costs have led to labor shortages and greater automation, which has also facilitated a lot of consolidation in the industry. Now there are just a few very large carpeting firms, rather than a number of medium-sized and thriving companies. Despite all the challenges of the modern age, the U.S. carpet industry is still the leading provider of carpeting worldwide, and carpeting firms still serve a vital role as major employers in their communities.

Carpet has been making home life more pleasant for generations. When you get new carpet flooring in South Amboy, NJ, it’s not all that different from the carpeting that was being installed here in the Northeast in the 1800s. And why should it be? You know you’ve got a great product when it stands the test of time. Give us a call here at Lov ‘N Kare Carpet Center if you’re in the market for carpet flooring in South Amboy, NJ, and for all your flooring needs. We’ve been in business since 1948, so we really know the carpet industry inside and out.

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