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Title: Carpets
Author: Brinton, Reginald Seymore
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Carpets" ***

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After the Ardebit carpet (Victoria and Albert Museum).



                             R. S. BRINTON

                      BATH, MELBOURNE AND NEW YORK


IN treating of carpet manufacture, which involves the employment of
looms and other machinery of a complicated nature, I was confronted with
the problem, how far it was necessary or desirable to explain and
illustrate mechanical devices. Upon consideration, it seemed advisable,
having regard to the scope of the book, to avoid as far as possible both
descriptions and diagrams of a mechanical nature. A certain standard of
mechanical intelligence is assumed in the reader; but this work, like
the rest of the series, is intended for the layman; and it is impossible
to describe and explain detailed mechanical movements except at
considerable length and with the aid of elaborate diagrams. Those who
wish to study the technique of the subject in detail are referred to Mr.
Fred Bradbury’s book, _Carpet Manufacture_ (F. King & Sons, Ltd.,
Halifax, 1904), which, though it has not been brought up to date, is a
classic for the trade, as all experts are aware. I am indebted to him
for the use of several blocks.

I have also to acknowledge the courtesy of the Gresham Publishing Co.,
Ltd., of Chandos Street, Covent Garden, for permission to use a number
of blocks from their _Textile Industries_, which contains some admirable
chapters on Carpet Manufacture.

My thanks are further due to _The Times_ for permission to utilise some
contributions I made to their “Textile Supplement,” published in 1913;
while I have received information and helpful criticism from Messrs.
Woodward, Grosvenor & Co., Ltd., Messrs. T. & A. Naylor, Ltd., The
Victoria Carpet Co., not to mention colleagues and foremen of my own
Company, Brintons Limited.

For the historical chapter I am indebted to Mr. A. C. Parry, and for
particulars of Carpet Trades Unions to Mr. E. Stradling, Mr. Ellis
Crowther, and Mr. T. Lindsay.

I am conscious of the possibility of errors and omissions, and I should
be grateful for any intimation of such, with the view of making the
necessary corrections, if a further edition should be required.

                                                        R. S. BRINTON.



               CHAP.                                  PAGE
                     PREFACE                           iii
                  I. HISTORY                             1
                 II. MATERIALS                           9
                III. DYEING                             13
                 IV. HAND-MADE CARPETS                  20
                  V. BRUSSELS CARPETS                   29
                 VI. WILTON CARPETS                     44
                VII. AXMINSTER CARPETS                  49
               VIII. CHENILLE CARPETS                   63
                 IX. TAPESTRY CARPETS                   71
                  X. INGRAIN CARPETS                    86
                 XI. DESIGN AND COLOUR                  92
                XII. STATISTICS                        104
               XIII. EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYED            107
                XIV. CONCLUSION                        119
                     INDEX                             123


      FIG.                                              PAGE
           BRITISH FINE WILTON CARPET              _Frontispiece_

        1. TURKISH, KNOT                                 21
        5. AND 5A. CHLIDEMA SQUARE                       41
        6. SECTION OF FIVE-FRAME WILTON                  45
        8. SECTION OF AXMINSTER—3-SHOT                   52
        9. SECTIONS OF AXMINSTER WEAVES                  53
       10. TUFTING MECHANISM                             55
       11. CHENILLE DESIGN PAPER CUT UP                  64
       12. CHENILLE CLOTH                                65
       14. SECTION OF CHENILLE AXMINSTER                 67
       15. DESIGN OF TAPESTRY CARPET                     72
       16. DESIGN IN FIG. 15 ELONGATED AS PRINTED        73
       17. PRINTING DRUM                                 76
       18. SCALE AND DESIGN BOARD COMBINED               78
       19. A SCRAPER                                     80
             THE BEAM
       21. FIG. 20 AS WOVEN                              82
       22. STRUCTURE OF TAPESTRY CARPET                  82
       23. MEDIUM TAPESTRY CARPET                        83
       24. TAPESTRY VELVET—3-SHOT                        83
       25. TAPESTRY VELVET                               84
       27. TWO-PLY IN WARP AND WEFT                      86
       28. TWO-PLY WARP AND WEFT                         88
       29. THREE-PLY WARP AND TWO-PLY WEFT               88
       30. THREE-PLY WARP AND WEFT                       89


                               CHAPTER I

BEFORE the mechanical processes involved in the manufacture of carpets
to-day are described, a short sketch of the history of the fabric and
the story of its introduction into this country may be of interest. The
origin of the weaver’s loom, like that of the potter’s wheel, dates back
to the prehistoric times. A loom with its workers is shown in an ancient
Egyptian fresco, the date of which is reckoned by antiquarians to be
about 3,000 years before the Christian Era. In the grottoes of
Benihassan, both spinners and weavers are shown, the weavers working on
cloths both plain and of a checked pattern; and both perpendicular and
horizontal looms are represented. There were, however, other
civilisations beside the Egyptian; and the origin of the carpet must be
sought still further to the East, in places where, in spite of the ebb
and flow of conquests, it is still made at the present day.

Mention is frequently found in ancient records of history of rich
hangings, coverings, fine cloths and tapestries, generally the booty of
some conqueror; but it is difficult to tell whether some fabric used
exclusively as the carpet of to-day is used is included in these lists.
The ancient equivalent of the modern carpet or rug was known to the
Babylonians, who were, according to Pliny, skilful weavers; and its
manufacture was carried on at an early date among the Assyrians and
Persians, in China and India, and among the Arabs.

The original purpose of the carpet in the East was probably the same in
the beginning as it is there, now, at the present day. It was used to
give colour to the temple, as a hanging for the tents, a trapping for
the saddle, a sitting place for the guest, for a covering of the ground
on which to sleep or pray; and its manufacture in any district implied a
certain degree of civilisation and luxury.

The use of a woven floor-covering seems to be indicated in passages in
Homer; and the well-known authority, Sir George Birdwood, cites an
account of a banquet given at Alexandria in the third century before the
Christian Era by Ptolemy Philadelphus, at which Persian rugs were spread
in the King’s tent. Persian carpets were highly valued, and were
exported to Greece, and at a later date to Rome. Themistocles, according
to Plutarch, “likened a man’s discourse to a rich Persian carpet, the
beautiful figures and patterns of which can be shown only by spreading
and extending it out; when it is contracted and folded up, they are
obscured and lost.”

The conquests of Alexander the Great, which extended as far as India,
seem to have made the use of the products of the Eastern looms familiar
among the Greeks. At a later date the conquests made by the Roman
Consuls spread the arts of the East still further into Europe. At a
later period still the taking of Constantinople by the Turks drove many
skilful artificers to take up their residence in Italy at Venice, Genoa,
and Florence, and at some towns in France; and from these centres
carpets were still further distributed over Europe.

The Crusades brought England into touch with the East; and specimens of
carpet were probably introduced by returning knights and their
followers; but it is through Spain, a country which acquired the art
from the Moors, that they are first known to have come, Queen Eleanor of
Castille and her suite introducing them into this country on her
marriage to Edward I. Illustrations of carpets are shown in pictures of
the time of Henry VIII; and in the time of Elizabeth they were probably
in more general use in England than most writers on the subject are
accustomed to allow; for direct communication with the East had been
opened up by the fearless and enterprising traders and adventurers of
those times. In Hakluyt’s _Voyages_ there are the following instructions
to a trader about to journey to Persia—

“In Persia you shall finde carpets of course thrummed wooll, the best of
the world, and excellently coloured; those cities and townes you most
repaire to, and you must use meanes to learne all the order of the dying
of those thrummes, which are so died as neither raine, wine, nor yet
vinegar can staine; and if you may attaine to that cunning you shall not
need to feare dying of clothe. For if the colour holde in yarne and
thrumme, it will holde much better in cloth. Learne you there to fixe
and make sure the colour to be given by logge wood; so shall we not need
to buy wood so deare to the enriching of our enemies. Enquire the price
of leckar, and all other things belonging to dying. If before you
returne you could procure a single good workeman in the arte of Turkish
carpet making you should bringe the arte into this Realme, and also
thereby increase worke to your company.”

Hakluyt’s praise of the Persian carpets was not undeserved, for their
manufacture in his time had reached a period of excellence as regards
design and workmanship which it has been from time to time the aim of
modern manufacturers to reproduce, as far as the conditions and
requirements of the present day permit. Many of the best specimens in
the museums and collections of New York, London, Vienna, and Paris are
attributed to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. When Hakluyt wrote
there was in existence a carpet at the Mosque of Ardebil, in North-West
Persia, which is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The date of this
carpet is 1540, and experts agree that it belongs to the best period of
Persian carpet weaving.

There is, unfortunately, no record whether the efforts of Hakluyt and
the merchant adventurers of his time to obtain weavers from Turkey or
Persia were successful. Carpets do not find a place among the goods to
be especially sought after by their agents. As far back as the reign of
Henry VIII we read of Cardinal Wolsey obtaining carpets through the
Venetian Ambassador; and in that reign Richard Sheldon lent his house to
a weaver named Richard Hicks, who produced among other fabrics woven
maps of Worcestershire and Oxfordshire, specimens of which are still in

In France, Henry IV gave assistance for the manufacture of carpets, and
in 1604 there was a strong guild of carpet weavers; but it was not until
the reign of Louis XIV that the manufacture was revived at Aubusson and
established at Beauvais. The industry had the direct patronage of the
French King, and some celebrated fabrics were made. The Revocation, in
1685, of the Edict of Nantes, which for a time had given protection to
the Protestants of France, drove a large number of French and Walloon
artisans into England and Germany; and the spinning and weaving were
among the many industries in this country to be benefited by this influx
of skilful workers.

In 1701 the carpet weavers of Wilton and Axminster received a charter;
but even at an earlier date the manufacture of carpets had been carried
on at these places. Both these towns have given their names to distinct
fabrics that are now made in many places and countries. Carpet
manufacture is no longer carried on at Axminster, where it flourished
for about a century; and other places, like Fulham, Moorfields, Exeter,
and Frome, where early attempts were made to establish the industry,
have long ceased to have any connection with carpet making.

About the year 1740, the Earl of Pembroke brought over weavers from
France and introduced into Wilton the making of loop-pile or Brussels
carpeting. This was followed in due course by the development of the
cut-pile fabric which took its name from the place.

About the year 1736 the weaving of carpets seems to have been
established at Kidderminster, a town which had been connected with the
weaving of broadcloth and “flowered stuff” from as far back as the reign
of Henry VIII. When the art was first introduced, what is now called
Scotch or Kidderminster carpet was made on the old hand-loom; the
process of weaving was slow and laborious, and required a man and a boy
to each loom. In 1745, Mr. Broom started the manufacture of Wilton and
Brussels carpets in the town, bringing over weavers from Tournai. In
1772 the number of carpet looms in the town was 250, and the trade
extended to other places in the North of England and Scotland. In 1830
there were nearly 1,100 looms in Kidderminster, and a considerable home
and foreign trade had been established. A Parliamentary Paper of that
date gave the consumption of wool in the weaving of carpets as one
twenty-eighth of the whole quantity of wool produced in the Kingdom.

In 1757, Mr. Thomas Moore started the manufacture of carpets in London,
and obtained a premium from the Society of Arts for the best imitation
of Turkey carpets.

As far back as 1778 there was a trade to some extent at Kilmarnock. The
original fabric was the two-ply Scotch or Kidderminster carpet. In 1824,
an engineer of Kilmarnock introduced the three-ply Scotch carpet, a
fabric of three layers of different colours, each of which is brought to
the surface according to design; while about the same time Brussels and
Velvet pile were also introduced into Scotland. In 1831, the Trustees
for Manufactures in Scotland awarded the prize for four Turkey carpets,
the first of that type made in Scotland.

In the last quarter of the eighteenth century the inventions of
Arkwright had been applied to the woollen and worsted industries.
Boulton and Watts had put their steam engine on a practical footing,
while Cartwright had made a power-loom for the weaving of calico, and
had also patented a wool-combing machine. In France, Jacquard was
perfecting a device which, when adapted to the carpet loom, was to play
an important part in the development of the industry.

From the beginning of the nineteenth century, progress, in spite of
occasional checks due to general economic conditions, was well
maintained; and by the year 1825 the Jacquard mechanism was beginning to
replace, both in England and Scotland, the old and complicated harness
of the hand-loom. A great increase of trade followed its adoption.

Two other important inventions, which had a great influence in extending
the scope of the trade, were developed in the thirties of the last
century. The one was the development of the tapestry process of printing
and weaving carpets by Mr. Whytock, of Edinburgh and Glasgow. This
process enabled a greater range of colours to be used than was
previously possible, and also allowed a cheaper fabric to be produced.
After initial opposition, the process was developed in Scotland; and
finally, about the year 1842, Halifax became the centre of the Tapestry
weaving. Firms in other towns were licensed, and the process was so
widely taken up that in 1850 there were 1,299 Tapestry hand-looms at
work in England and Scotland, as against 2,500 hand Brussels looms. The
other notable invention was that of Mr. James Templeton, of Glasgow, who
in 1839 patented a novel device for the manufacture of patent Axminster
carpets by a two-fold process. This also admitted of a large range of
shades. The invention has since been considerably developed, and has
contributed largely to the extension of the carpet industry.

From small beginnings, early in the nineteenth century the manufacture
of carpets had grown in the course of 50 years to an important industry
in the United States, and was well established in Philadelphia and other
centres. Both in England and America the most able inventors had turned
their attention to the problem of weaving by power. Mr. Collier, who had
been successful in weaving linen by power, produced, in conjunction with
Messrs. Crossley, of Halifax, a loom for the weaving of Tapestry and
Brussels. The problem had, however, been solved by Mr. E. P. Bigelow, in
America, and the Bigelow patent was acquired by Messrs. Crossley. The
introduction of the power-loom created a great change in the industry.
The transition period from hand-weaving to power-weaving was a period of
anxiety to manufacturers and of privation to the old hand-loom weavers;
but the situation was everywhere faced, and from the first introduction
of power-loom weaving ever-increasing quantities of carpets have been
woven, both for home consumption and for export. In the seventies of the
last century another step forward was the remarkable invention of the
Moquette or Royal Axminster loom by Alexander Smith & Sons, of Yonkers,
N.Y. This loom was introduced to England by Messrs. Tomkinson & Adam, of
Kidderminster; and the invention has caused a still further extension of
the carpet trade both at home and abroad.

                               CHAPTER II

CARPET manufacture is a complicated matter, and involves the use both of
various ingenious machines and of a diversity of materials, such as
wool, cotton, jute, twine, oil, paper, wire, colours, size, etc. We need
only concern ourselves, however, with the more important of these
materials, which are yarns made of wool, in the form of worsted or
woollen, which are almost invariably used for the surface of a carpet;
and yarns made of other fibres, which are used for warp and weft.

The wool used for carpet yarns is different from that required for
either cloth or hosiery. It need not be so fine and soft, but it should
be strong, and in the case of worsted yarn, of fairly long staple, while
natural lustre adds to the value.

A recent estimate of the sources of wool consumed by the carpet trade
allotted 9 per cent. to the British Empire, as much as 40 per cent. to
Russia, and the remainder to other countries. Strong British wools, and
the coarser stapled fibres from Australia and New Zealand, form the bulk
of the first category, while Egyptian and East Indian wools, which are
in especial demand for woollen yarns, are responsible for a large
proportion of the last.

Of other materials that can be and are used for the surface of carpets,
mention should first be made of silk. Hand-tufted carpets are sometimes
made of silk both in Asia and in Europe, and beautiful effects are
obtained; but the cost on the one hand, and the nature of the yarn on
the other militate against its being a very suitable material for a
floor covering. Carpets made with a silk pile possess a wonderful sheen,
especially if hand-woven, so that the tufts lie over at a considerable
angle; but the pile possesses no resilience and suffers more from
soiling in wear than a wool-pile carpet of a corresponding quality.

Mohair is used occasionally for hand-tufted carpets with excellent
effect, and it is often employed to great advantage in self-coloured
hearth rugs, for which there is a regular demand. The extreme stiffness
of the fibre and its disinclination to felt, however, cause the yarn to
be a rather intractable material for carpet manufacture. It possesses,
moreover, the special characteristic of considerable density. In other
words, it is heavy for its volume, so that a yarn of a given thickness
will weigh much more than a similar yarn of another fibre, with the
result that all mohair fabrics are expensive compared with those made of
wool or other yarns.

Jute is employed for the surface as well as for the rest of the carpet
at Dundee; and horse-hair Brussels carpets are made, which are extremely
durable, but somewhat harsh, and not very decorative. Yarn spun from
cow-hair is utilised sometimes for the surface of carpets of the
Brussels or Dutch type, but perhaps more often for filling warps; while
cotton has been tried for the former purpose also, but without very
satisfactory results, owing to the lack of resilience in its fibre.

If to the cobbler there is nothing like leather, so to the carpet
manufacturer there is nothing like wool. Yarn made of wool seems to be
the ideal material for the surface of a carpet. Wool is capable of being
spun easily into yarn of any required count or thickness; and such yarn
can be dyed to any shade, and woven into any fabric. When woven, it will
retain its appearance and stand reasonably hard wear better than most
similar textile materials. Its liability to the attacks of moths may be
urged; but, after all, carpets are made as much for use as for ornament,
and it is well known that the clothes moth only works when he is

Of subsidiary yarns, perhaps cotton is the most important. This is used
for a large proportion of the chain warps of all kinds of carpeting. It
is also occasionally used for weft, and in its lowest qualities for

Flax yarn, more generally known in the trade as linen, is used in
considerable quantities, especially as chains for Axminster, and as weft
for Wilton and Brussels carpets. Its combined strength and pliancy,
coupled with a certain degree of stiffness, make it a most useful fibre.
Jute and hemp, having regard to the total production of all kinds of
carpet, are probably used in greater quantities than any other yarn.
Jute is cheap and strong, and is invaluable as a filling to give weight
and handle to a fabric. It has the disadvantage of being liable to decay
if it becomes wet, and in this state, if used in too large a proportion,
of causing the disintegration of a carpet.

Of other materials that are sometimes used for the backing of carpets,
mention must be made of ramie, which has been tried as a substitute for
linen yarn, which it resembles a good deal in character, being strong
and pliant, but inelastic. The cost, however, has proved to be
prohibitive. Various mixtures of jute and wool, or of cotton and wool,
have been tried, and have their values as combining weight with

Paper yarn, though seldom as a matter of fact under its own name, has
been tried as a substitute for linen, cotton, and jute, as weft, chain,
and stuffer. It can be spun or twisted into a presentable yarn in a
variety of counts; and a yarn that will weave and weave well. During the
war, owing to their shortage of other fibres, the Germans used
considerable quantities of paper yarn for weaving cloths, webbing,
harness, equipment, and even carpets, which no doubt served their
purposes tolerably well. It was, however, a development pursued rather
from necessity than from choice. They had plenty of wood, which we have
not; and they lacked the wool, cotton, and jute. Paper yarn cannot
seriously compete in price with jute, nor in value with cotton, for use
in carpets. It is, moreover, particularly liable to deterioration from

                              CHAPTER III

ALL worsted and woollen yarns used for the surface of carpets, with the
exception of those whereon the colours are printed, as in Tapestry
carpets, are dyed; and fast and accurate dyeing is of cardinal
importance in carpet manufacture.

Practically all worsted yarns, and some woollen yarns, however, are
supplied to carpet manufacturers by the spinners in oil or in grease;
that is to say, still impregnated with the oil which has been put into
them in the process of spinning. The freeing of the yarn from this oil
by washing is a necessary preliminary to dyeing, inasmuch as the
presence of oil would prevent the dye liquor permeating the wool fibres.

Scouring is effected by soap and hot water, generally by machines of one
type or another. The yarn in skeins is sometimes thrown upon swifts,
which revolve over a vat of suds. The skeins are carried through the
liquor and well rinsed by the rotation of the swifts. Another method
employed is to pass the skeins, tied together in a long chain, through
vats in which they are steeped in the suds, and through rollers which
squeeze them more or less dry. Or the skeins may travel along a series
of aprons, underneath a shower, between rollers, or through bowls of
suds. The precise method adopted is not of great importance provided
that the scouring solution has full opportunity to operate upon the wool
fibres, so that the yarn is delivered ultimately free of oil and of
soap. For this reason, a final bath of pure water is desirable.

The solvents principally used are ammonia, alkali, and an alkaline soap
of some kind. Cotton-seed oil soap is generally regarded as one of the
most suitable.

The scoured yarn is now ready for dyeing, and passes, without being
fully dried, to the sticks or frames of the hand-vat or dyeing machine.

The three main considerations to be kept in view in the dyeing of
worsted and woollen yarns for carpets are levelness of colour, accuracy
of matching, and fastness of colour to light. The second and third are
matters which concern the skill of the head dyer and the quality of the
dyestuffs which he employs; the first depends upon the handling of the
yarn by the operative in the hand vat or dyeing machine; and the
essential factor, apart from the proper temperature of the dye-liquor,
is motion.

Dyeing by hand, although superseded almost entirely by machine-dyeing,
is still employed in some cases, particularly where only small
quantities are required. The dye-vat is of wood, and should be a
well-made piece of joinery to withstand the wear and tear incidental to
its use. Round the bottom on the inside is fitted a tube of copper or
some acid-resisting metal, perforated with small holes, through which
steam is passed to heat up the water. The head dyer weighs out the
dyestuffs estimated to produce a shade a fraction below the required
shade, so as to admit of final adjustment after testing. This, of
course, applies equally to hand or machine-dyeing. For hand vats, the
skeins of scoured yarn are hung on a set of poles, which, when filled,
are placed on brackets above the vat. When the dyestuff has been put in,
and the water brought to the required temperature, a pair of workmen,
each holding one end of the poles, standing on each side, sets them on
the edge of the vat and lets the free ends of the skeins sink down into
the liquor. When all the poles are in place, the operators start on the
pole at one end, and, raising each skein in turn, draw it over a few
inches, so that the part which has hitherto remained outside the liquor
is now immersed. When the skeins on one stick are finished, that stick
is pushed a little way along and the next is treated similarly. When the
whole set is done, the operation is repeated. The essence of the
treatment is to keep the yarn moving. If the skeins were allowed to
remain in the same place, even after the first moving, there would be
“stick marks” at the point where the skein rested on the pole, because
the liquor would not have had as much access to this place as to the
rest of the skeins.

After an hour or so, or when sufficient time has been allowed for the
dyestuffs to permeate the yarn fibres, the poles are lifted on to the
brackets, and a skein is taken out and submitted to the head dyer for
matching. The head dyer will compare it with his standard, and, in the
case of dyeing to match a cut-pile or tufted fabric such as Wilton or
Axminster, he will probably make a tuft from a thread of the sample
skein, so as to compare the shade of the cut ends as well as of the
outside of the thread. He will then make the necessary corrections or
additions to the dye-bath if the exact shade has not been reached, and
the operation will be continued until he is satisfied. The poles are
then finally lifted, removed from above the vat to a horse; the yarn is
then stripped from the poles and passed to the hydro-extractor prior to
going on to the stove or drying machine.

The object of dyeing machines, of course, is to effect the same
treatment of the yarn as is done by hand as just described, but in a
more expeditious way. A machine can, in fact, do nearly twice as much as
a man, and in a more regular manner. That is to say, one man can mind a
machine of the same capacity as a hand vat which requires two men; but
it is desirable, if not, indeed, necessary, that he should have
assistance in loading and unloading.

Given the necessity for keeping the yarn in motion while immersed in the
dye liquor, the problem of the designer of dye machines has been to find
the most simple and effective way of doing this, keeping in view the
need for convenience in preparing the yarn for the bath, dropping it in,
and removing it.

Dyeing machines are of two main types: those which move the yarn through
the liquor, and those which move the liquor through the yarn. Each type
has in common a frame of some kind to carry the dye-sticks on which the
yarn is hung; and practically every type of frame is provided with
sticks to support the skeins at one or both ends. Of the former and
earlier type the movement of the frame carrying the yarn in the liquor
may be effected in various ways. The frame in one machine is revolved in
the vat upon a circular axis; in another the revolution is combined with
a rocking motion; in a third a vertical movement is obtained by means of
a hydraulic pump fitted with an automatic reversing mechanism. In each
case the problem of moving the yarn in the liquor is complicated by the
minor problems of moving the yarn on the sticks so as to avoid stick
marks, and of raising and lowering the frame, or of stripping it in
position, if irremovable. The former is solved by some worm or ratchet
contrivance for automatically turning the dye-sticks, and the latter by
cranes or tackle, or, as in one of the makes just mentioned, by a
hydraulic pump.

All the machines of this main type have their advantages and
disadvantages, as they have their supporters and critics; but there can
be little doubt that the balance of opinion among carpet yarn dyers is
growing preponderatingly towards the second type of machine; that in
which the liquor is moved through the yarn. In this type, the frame
carrying the yarn is dropped into the vat, which is then covered with a
lid. The liquor is then caused to circulate in a strong stream
throughout the vat by propellers fixed at the head. The motion of the
propellers can be reversed if desired. If both top and bottom sticks are
used in the frame, they are placed at a less distance apart than the
length of the skein, so that, the skein being completely immersed, the
yarn is carried free of the stick by the flow of the liquor, access is
given to all the wool fibres, and the danger of stick marks is avoided.
The chief merit of this machine, however, is the considerable economy
that is effected in steam consumption by the reduced size of the vat, as
well as by the lid. The vat need only be made just large enough to
contain the skeins dropped into it, whereas in the other type of machine
it must be made large enough to allow for the skeins to be moved about
in it. There is, therefore, less water to be heated for a given weight
of yarn. The lid avoids loss of heat by radiation, which is inevitable
with the open top types.

The chemistry and the science of dyeing worsted and woollen yarns is a
subject that can only be dealt with adequately at considerable length.
Here a brief reference must suffice.

Wool fibre is a substance similar in nature to horn, with a scaly
surface. It is hygroscopic, being capable of taking up a large amount of
water compared to its own bulk, and when moistened and heated it tends
to soften and swell. These characteristics make wool very susceptible of
being dyed. It is said to have an affinity for certain colouring
matters, but this phrase serves to cover a want of agreement among
chemists, as to whether dyeing is actually of a chemical or a mechanical
nature. It is probably both. In any case, wool is easy to dye compared
with silk, cotton, or other fibres.

Natural dyestuffs, such as logwood, madder, fustic, cochineal, and
indigo, are practically obsolete so far as dyeing for carpet yarns is
concerned; and the modern dyer has a large range of aniline and
alizarine colours to choose from. As is pretty generally known, the
production of dyestuff from coal tar was originally a British invention,
but its development passed into the hands of the Germans, upon whom,
before the war, the dye consumers of the carpet trade, as of other
trades, were very largely dependent. Necessity and enterprise have
remedied this deplorable state of affairs, which need never recur. The
coal tar dyes now being produced by British dye manufacturers are
trustworthy and satisfactory, and they should improve both in quality
and quantity as time goes on.

For the purposes of the carpet yarn dyer, at any rate, the anilines and
alizarines now obtainable are infinitely preferable to any natural or
vegetable dyes, being easier to use, more reliable, and faster to light.

The ordinary method of preparing the dye-bath into which the worsted or
woollen yarn is to be dipped in the manner that has been described, is
as follows. The water, in which from 2 to 4 per cent. of sulphuric acid
and from 5 to 10 per cent. of Glauber’s Salts is mixed, is brought up to
about 170°F.; the dyestuff is added, about 1 to 5 per cent., according
to the depth of shade required. The percentages are reckoned upon the
weight of the yarn to be dyed. The yarn is then entered, and the water
is brought to the boil, and kept lightly boiling as long as required to
obtain the shade. There are some delicate shades, however, and some
sensitive dyestuffs, for which the yarn requires to be entered cool, and
the water to be brought slowly to the boil.

The dyed yarn passes from the vat to the hydro-extractor, a large copper
pan with perforated sides, which, revolving at a great speed, causes the
wet skeins by centrifugal force to press against the circumference and
squeeze out a large proportion of the water they contain. The skeins are
then taken out, bundled roughly together, and are ready for conveying to
the drying room or drying machine.

Drying the yarn can be effected simply by hanging the skeins on poles in
a room through which strong currents of air are forced by revolving
fans. This method, however, depends too much upon the weather, even if
the air is caused to pass over steam-heated coils on entering the room.
A better alternative is to expose the yarn hung on poles in a heated
chamber. The most certain and satisfactory method, however, is a drying
machine of some type, which enables the skeins to be fed into it at one
end, to pass through a current of heated air, and to be delivered dry at
the other. The factors in this case, the heat of the steam coils and the
speed of the machine, are known and can be controlled; so that the dyer
can rely upon getting a certain quantity of yarn satisfactorily dried in
a certain time. In the ordinary type of machine, the skeins are carried
horizontally between two wire aprons; but alternatively they can be
carried vertically upon hooks or poles.

The yarn, coloured and dried, is now ready to go to the yarn store, or
direct to the winding-room.

                               CHAPTER IV
                           HAND-MADE CARPETS

THE characteristic feature of a carpet, as distinguished from other
floor coverings, is the combination of a surface composed almost always
of wool with a woven foundation, which may be of various materials.

The main classification of carpets is between those which are made by
hand and those which are made by machine; and of both these classes
there are many sub-divisions.

Hand-made carpets are the oldest type of the fabric, and, coming from
the East, are the historical parents of all modern carpets. This kind of
carpet is made to-day in the United Kingdom, on the Continent, and in
the East in almost exactly the same manner in which it has been made by
the Orientals for several hundred years. The principle is extremely
simple. The warp threads, or chain, are wound on two horizontal beams,
between which they are stretched vertically. The beams are carried by
upright posts on which they can revolve, the space between the posts
determining the width of the rug or carpet. The weavers sit side by side
in front, the carpet as it is woven being gradually wound on to the
lower beam, and the warp correspondingly unwound from the upper beam.
The yarn for the pile is cut up into tufts about 2 in. in length, and is
knotted round two warp threads, tuft by tuft, according to the paper
design, which is attached in front of the weaver. As each row, or part
of a row is finished, two weft threads are put in, one in the shed
formed between the front and back halves of the chain, and a second in
an alternate shed, which is formed by the weaver pulling forward the
back half of the chain temporarily in front of the front half. The
second weft is put in straight, the first one loose, zig-zag, or
vandyked, so as to fill up the back of the carpet, and to avoid the
tendency towards lateral contraction. The weft is beaten down into its
place by a heavy fork or beater. This interlocking of warp and weft with
the tuft forms the weave of the carpet, and has been imitated more or
less in all mechanically woven carpet fabrics.

[Illustration: FIG. 1       TURKISH KNOT]

There are two different kinds of knot employed, the Ghiordes or Turkish,
and the Senne or Persian. In carpets made with the former, the tuft of
yarn is knotted round a pair of warp threads in such a manner that the
two ends of yarn come between the two warp threads round which the tuft
is looped, and consequently two pile ends alternate with every two warp
threads. In Persian carpets the tuft is knotted in such a way that one
end of the tuft obtrudes between each warp thread. This method of
weaving renders possible a closer texture than the Turkish knot; while
carpets of suitable design and finer pitch are often woven with a
running thread looped round the finger of the weaver, and then cut,
instead of by individual tufts. This latter system gives more waste but
quicker weaving. With both Turkish and Persian knots the tuft ends do
not stand up at right angles to the plane of the fabric, but lie over
obliquely towards the starting end of the carpet. This natural slant of
the pile, which results in presenting to the eye and the foot of the
user of the carpet partly the ends and partly the sides of tufts, is a
very characteristic feature of hand-made carpets, and one which cannot
be completely imitated by any class of machine-made fabrics.

Another kind of hand weaving is the tapestry method, wherein the weft
colours, wound upon wooden needles, are threaded round and between the
warp ends, leaving a flat or slightly ribbed surface, not unlike that of
an ingrain carpet. The absence of a tufted pile does not make this a
luxurious carpet; but it enables a fine pitch to be employed, and the
richest and most delicate effects of design and colour to be obtained.
Carpets of this type have long been made at Les Gobelins, Paris,
Aubusson, and Beauvais, in France, and Tournai, in Belgium. The work is
slow and highly skilled, and the product is naturally very expensive.

There is no better kind of carpet than the carpet made by hand; though
this is far from implying that all hand-tufted carpets are superior to
all machine-made ones. But there is no method of combining the pile with
the foundation so good as the knot; and it cannot be completely imitated
by the cleverest power-loom invented. The hand-tufted carpet possesses
an individuality, even in its faults, which no product of a machine can
attain, and which, after all, is an attribute to a work of art. More of
the soul of the worker has passed into it than the clashing metal of a
power loom will permit to filter into its product.

Hand-made carpets have a further advantage in their adaptability to
requirements. A single carpet, for instance, can be made to any
specified shape, size, design, colour, and quality. It is possible to
produce in one piece carpets of oval, circular, or L-shaped form, or to
conform to irregular curves and angles.

Qualities are numerous, but may be said to vary mainly between about 9
and 400 tufts to the square inch. The average European hand-made carpet
will not run to more than from 16 to 30.

As regards materials, the tuft yarn will vary from a heavy woollen for
coarse pitches to a fine worsted for the closer, while silk is
occasionally employed, producing a carpet of greater lustre, but less

The Eastern weavers are fond of using woollen of suitable counts for
both warp and weft, though a cotton warp is quite common. Flax or linen,
however, is more commonly employed by the European maker; and the
combination of strength and softness in this material seem to make it
almost ideal for the purpose.

European hand-tufted carpets may be considered as upon a different
footing from Asiatic. Indeed, the carpet dealer would hardly regard the
two—at any rate in pre-war days, would hardly _have_ regarded them—as
mutually competitive. The main localities for this branch of the
industry are Maffersdorf, in Austria, Holland, Donegal, Carlisle, and
Wilton. But, although in each of these places carpets of characteristic
Eastern design and colouring are produced, their staple trade has always
lain rather along the lines of specialities. They have catered rather
for architects, decorators, individuals, or public bodies, who were
inspired by some particular idea, and who could afford to pay for it,
than for the ordinary consumer. To make standard carpets for stock,
unless it were some crimson Yapraks, would be quite exceptional. The
reason for this, and the relation of European and Asiatic hand-made
carpets will be alluded to later.

At any rate the fact remains, that the European hand-tufted carpet
trade, though it has been responsible for some superb productions in a
variety of styles—and in this connection due credit must be given to
the enemy maker alluded to—yet it never attained a position of
importance adequate to its undoubted merits.

It is quite impossible to deal effectively in a limited space with so
large a subject as that of Oriental carpets and rugs. Books have been
written on the historical and artistic aspects alone. Some brief notes
must suffice. It is interesting to recall that the inhabitants of Persia
and Asia Minor, who were the earliest makers of carpets, were nomads.
They wove their tents, decorated with tribal signs and symbols, and they
wove the curtains or kelims for greater comfort and ornament. Rugs and
carpets followed in natural sequence. The primary object of these was to
cover the raised bank of earth at the end of the tent on which the chief
sat. Other rugs and mats were placed round the tent for the use of the
family or of visitors. Besides these, there were the prayer rugs for
their special purpose, which were carefully stored when not required for

When the dwelling-place developed from a tent to a house, a raised seat
of honour covered by a rug took the place of the bank of earth; and
divans on each side of the room, for which long rugs or runners were
required, accommodated the family and callers.

Weaving was, and still is, largely a family affair, in the East. The
women and girls sit in front of the loom and work under the supervision
of the matriarch. Obviously the degrees of skill employed will vary; and
this leads to some of the irregularities in Eastern carpets, which,
however, are regarded rather as beauties than as blemishes by the
Western buyer.

It is not to be implied, however, that all Oriental carpets are still
the product of family or tribal industry. Western methods have
penetrated even into the “unchanging East”: organisation of the industry
has been set up; and carpet dealers and importers’ syndicates in New
York, London, and Paris have their agents in the East, and even control
their own factories, to which they send their orders. This may be
thought to detract from the romance of the Oriental carpet, but it does
not appear to have affected adversely the progress of the industry or
the merit of its products; and there is no reason why it should, so long
as the Western buyers are men of taste and experience, and do not seek
to impose uncongenial ideas upon the Eastern worker, which might tend to
the destruction of individuality and local feeling.

It is a common fallacy, that the yarns of Oriental carpets are dyed
solely with vegetable dyes, and that those dyes are intrinsically
superior to aniline and alizarine dyes, such as are employed for yarns
for machine-made fabrics. The latter have been used for many years now
by European carpet manufacturers, not because they are cheaper than
vegetable dyes, but because they are easier to use, more accurate for
matching purposes, and faster to light. There are, of course, good and
bad synthetic dyes, but the best are immeasurably superior to dyes made
from plants, barks, and berries. This fact has long been recognised by
those who control the production of Oriental carpets, for the yarns for
which aniline and alizarine dyes are now extensively employed.

The subject of dyeing naturally leads on to that of doctoring or
“faking,” which is commonly adopted with a large proportion of Eastern
carpets. The object is twofold: to soften the original brightness of the
colours, or to give an appearance of age; and to obtain a gloss which
the wool does not naturally possess. This is generally done by the
collectors or agents, and not by the people who weave the carpets. It is
often known by the innocent name of _washing_, and consists in treating
the surface with some chemical such as chlorine water, or glycerine,
followed by ironing with a hot iron. It can hardly be supposed that this
treatment does not detract to some extent from the life of the carpet;
but this consideration appears to be outweighed by that of the more
attractive appearance.

It has been stated that it is not an uncommon practice to expose a
carpet to use in the bazaar or street with the object of enhancing its
commercial value by giving it an artificial appearance of age. It is to
be hoped, however, that this very insanitary method of faking is rare;
but those who wilfully give preference to a carpet because it is dirty
and faded, and apparently old, do not deserve too much sympathy.

There are varieties of Asiatic carpets far too numerous to be mentioned
here. They differ widely in origin, design, colour, and quality, each
town or district having its characteristic pattern and ornament, which
is followed with more or less persistence. The finest carpets, both in
pattern and quality, are the Persian, the worst are some of the Indian,
which are coarse in texture and devoid of artistic merit. In between are
the standard Turkeys, which are in great and steady demand all over

Reference has been made to the very different position occupied by
Asiatic and European, or at any rate British hand-tufted carpets.
Practically identical in manufacture, they are in different categories
commercially. The Eastern carpet trade is a large one, healthy, well
organised, and profitable. The British hand-tufted industry is
artificial, and maintains a precarious existence.

It may not be considered quite outside the scope of this chapter to
examine the reason for this position. The question is in reality purely
an economic one. British hand-tufted carpets cannot be manufactured on a
basis of cost that enables them to compete in price with the imported
Eastern carpet. The question of design and colour may be ignored for the
moment; quality for quality, the domestic product cannot meet its
Oriental competitor on equal terms in the market, despite the fact that
it comes straight from the manufacturer, while the other has probably
had to bear collectors’ and wholesale dealers’ profits.

The reason lies, of course, in the different standard of living. The
cost of the raw materials is not substantially different in Great
Britain and in Asia Minor. But the British carpet has got to pay for
steam-heating, gas and water, and electric light, and a more liberal
standard of diet, than suffices the frugal Armenian or Kurd. The women
and girls who weave Eastern carpets are not protected by factory
inspectors and welfare superintendents.

And the difference in cost of production due to these very different
conditions is very considerable; while in view of the increase of wages
during the war, and the steadily advancing standard of comfort among
British artisans, it seems likely to be even more in the future.

Under these circumstances, it is justifiable to ask whether it is fair
and wise to allow this competition to continue. During the war the
import of Oriental carpets has been prohibited, and it cannot be claimed
that the results have been disastrous. The stock of Oriental carpets
existing in the country when the prohibition was initiated has changed
hands at steadily increasing prices. In other words, the people who
wanted the carpets keenly enough have got them, and have had to pay
handsomely for them. Why should not this prohibition, or alternatively a
high import duty, be maintained? No one would suffer except the Turk,
about whose financial welfare we need not perturb ourselves, and
possibly the semi-European middleman and agent. The _bona fide_ dealer
in Oriental carpets, located in Great Britain, would be able to convert
his capital and his technical knowledge towards the building up of a big
British hand-tufted industry; and in a few years we should see in
private houses, hotels, and clubs, instead of the Asiatic product, for
which our money has been sent out of the country, real British hand-made
carpets, which would have been manufactured under ideal conditions, and
for good wages. And there is no reason in the world why such carpets
should not equal or surpass in quality and artistic merit the finest
productions of the East.

                               CHAPTER V

OF machine-made carpets, that which naturally demands the first mention
is the Brussels carpet, which was the first kind to be woven in this
country by the aid of a Jacquard, a pattern-selecting mechanism to which
allusion will be made later. Brussels is a loop-pile fabric, consisting
of a strong woven foundation, composed of linen, jute, and cotton yarns,
together with that portion of the worsted yarn which is not utilised on
the surface to form the pattern. The pattern itself is formed on the
surface by differently coloured looped threads of worsted yarns.

The character of the fabric lends itself to patterns well-defined in
design and colour. The smooth, gently-ribbed surface gives a clean and
neat, but not a luxurious effect; and the carpet is generally more
suitable for small and medium-sized rooms and simple furnishing schemes,
than for bold or ambitious effects. The number of shades available is
also limited.

The processes of manufacture are comparatively few and simple.

The yarn is received from the spinner in grease, that is, still
containing the oil that was put into the wool for the purpose of
spinning, and in skeins. Worsted spinners supply a large variety of
counts and twists of yarn for Brussels and Wilton carpets, which need
not be particularised. As a normal Brussels yarn we may take 16s, 2 × 3;
a thread sharply twisted in the doubling, and loosely in the
re-doubling, running about 100 yards to the ounce. The yarn should be
spun from wool of a moderately long staple.

In the dye-house it is first scoured, to get rid of the oil, which would
interfere with the dyeing, and then dyed. From the dye-vat the yarn is
taken to the hydro-extractor, or wince, where a large proportion of the
moisture is eliminated by centrifugal force. The skeins of dyed yarn are
then dried, either by being hung on poles and exposed to a current of
warm air, or by being passed through a mechanical dryer, which normally
consists of a large chamber of wood and iron, through which the yarn is
carried by an apron, or pair of aprons, while exposed to streams of hot
air propelled by fans.

From the drying room or drying machine, the yarn passes to the winding
room, to be wound on to bobbins. The winding frame consists of a series
of pulleys set on a shaft. Opposite each pulley or drum is a swift on
which the skein is adjusted, the end of the yarn from the skein being
led on to the body of the empty bobbin, which is held against and
rotated by the pulley, the face of the pulley being a little less than
the space between the flanges of the bobbin. This bobbin, called the
creel bobbin, because it goes into the creel frames of the loom, has a
face of 2¾ in. and a flange diameter of 3½ in.

The creel bobbins, each of which when fully wound will contain about 1/3
lb. of yarn, are then taken to the creel frames at the back of the loom.
For a best five-frame Brussels carpet, five sets of 256 or 260 bobbins
will be required. These five sets are placed in each of the five creel
frames, each bobbin being free to revolve slowly on a creel peg, and so
release its yarn as required. Each of the 1,280 or 1,300 ends of yarn is
led through to the front of the loom, being threaded first individually
through an eyelet in the harness, and then, along with the other ends of
yarn that belong with it, through a reed of the sley.

The body and back of the carpet is provided for normally by two warp
beams, the chain and the stuffer. The chain consists of twice as many
ends of cotton as there are reeds in the sley. Thus, if the pitch is
256, there will be 256 reeds, or reed spaces in the 27 in. width of the
sley (in practice the sley is made a little wider than the carpet is to
be woven); and there will be 512 ends of cotton chain in the same width,
two to each reed space. The stuffer beam consists normally of as many
ends as there are reed spaces. The stuffer warp is of jute, bump, or
cotton yarn.

The object of the chain is to form, in combination with the weft, the
woven base of the fabric; all the rest is either surface or back. The
weave is effected by the chain ends being threaded through eyelets
mounted on two heald-frames or gears, which rise alternately in such a
way as to allow the shuttle, carrying the weft, to be shot through the
shed or opening thus formed.

The purpose of the stuffer, or dead warp, is merely to give body or
weight to the fabric, and it is not essential if there is enough body
provided by the rest of the warp. The stuffer ends are also carried on
eyelets in a gear frame, but are not divided like the chain, and remain
practically in the middle of the fabric.

Both chain and stuffer beams lie between the creel frames and the main
part of the loom. Their slow unwinding is operated automatically while
the loom is running.

The harness consists of a set of 1,300 cords, carrying the mails or
eyelets through which the worsted is threaded, kept taut by a weight at
their lower ends, and connected with the Jacquard mechanism above. The
Jacquard (the invention of Joseph Marie Jacquard, of Lyons) is an
ingenious device for selecting and raising the threads required to form
the pattern. The Jacquard principle in various forms is in use
throughout the textile trades, and need not be described in detail here.
The essential feature of it is the combination of perforated paper or
card with needles or pegs in such a way that the blank (or, it may be,
the perforation) in the card causes the harness carrying a certain
thread, or set of threads, to rise as required.

The operation of the Brussels loom may now be described. The ends of
worsted yarn from the creel bobbins having been drawn through the eyes
in the harness, and the chain and stuffer ends through the eyes in the
healds, all are drawn through the sley in such a way that there will be
in each reed-space five ends of worsted, two of cotton chain, and one of
stuffer warp. All ends are now made fast to the breast roller at the
front of the loom, and kept taut by weighting the warp beams, and by
hanging small hooked weights on to each thread of worsted close to the
bobbin in the creel frame.

[Illustration: FIG. 2
A, Stuffer warp; B, Worsted warps; C, Chain; J, Comberboard; K, Mail; L,
  Lingo; H, Healds; 1 to 6, Harness]

When the loom is running, the Jacquard lifts one worsted thread in each
reed, thus forming a shed, under which the wire is introduced from the
side. Immediately below the wire now lies the body of the fabric,
consisting of the four frames of worsted in each course, which are not
required to form the pattern, the stuffer warp, and one half of the
cotton chain. Below the body of the fabric is a lower shed formed by the
other half of the cotton chain, and through this the shuttle passes,
carrying the weft, at the same time as the wire is being inserted. Then
the lathe, which has been lying back to allow the passing of the shuttle
and the entrance of the wire, comes forward with the sley, and beats up
the wire and the last shot of weft against the breast-plate of the loom
and the last part of the woven fabric. At the same time the Jacquard
allows the harness carrying the ends selected for the last lash to drop
back on to a level with the others, and the gears carrying the cotton
chain begin to change. Next, the lathe goes back again; one half of the
chain is brought up to form a shed, under which and over the rest of the
threads the shuttle passes back, thus effectively tying in the worsted
threads which are looped over the wire. Meanwhile the last wire of the
set (of about 30) which has moved forward as the fabric is woven, is
drawn out by a hook, and carried back for insertion under the next shed
of worsted. A number of wires is used so as to avoid the risk of the
loops being pulled flat by the weight on the yarn or the strain of the
harness or sley.

Chains and stuffers are generally coloured and sized, the yarn being
slowly wound from bobbins or cheeses on a frame or stand, passing
through a trough of coloured starching material, over a steam-heated
cylinder, or a series of pipes, on to an iron flanged beam. The weft,
which is normally of linen yarn, is also generally coloured and sized,
and is used whilst still damp. The colouring certainly adds to the
appearance of the carpet, and the sizing adds stiffness and handling,
though, apart from this, and from the fact that it is expected by the
dealer, it is doubtful whether it is of any advantage, except in the
cheaper grades, where less yarn is used.

Brussels and Wilton carpets are described as being of five, four, or
three frames, according to the number of sets of creel bobbins carrying
worsted warp threads. Each frame will generally be composed of threads
all of one colour; but an enhanced colour effect is often obtained by
one or more of the frames being “planted.” This means that worsted
threads of two or more colours are arranged side by side in the same
frame in groups, in accordance with the design. If, for instance, the
design contains a rose, for the petals of which a frame of pink yarn is
to be used, then the colourist or weaver, by a judicious selection and
arrangement of bobbins, can add to the colour effect by shading the
petals from light to dark; or, again, a flower may be coloured blue in
one part of the design and gold in another. Skilfully used, this device
makes a three-frame look like a four, or a five-frame like a six, but it
must be used with discretion and with due regard to the design, or
disfiguring and tell-tale stripes will ensue.

[Illustration: FIG. 3
A A, Chain; B, Pile warp; C, Stuffer warp]

Best Brussels has been taken as an example in describing the process of
manufacture, but a good many other qualities are, or at least have been,
made. Best is 256 pitch, beaten up 9 to the inch, but extra qualities
are made up to 11 per inch, which gives an excellently close and even
surface. Finer than this in pitch or beat-up it has not been found
practicable to go. Lower qualities are made in 236 and 214 pitch, and
even down to 180, with beat-ups running down to 6½ or 6 per inch, and a
framage of three or two. In the coarsest qualities, however, there is
always the tendency to “grin,” that is, for the weft and body of the
carpet to be exposed between the loops of the pile, unless the
coarseness is compensated by the employment of a thicker pile yarn or a
higher wire. This is, in fact, the case with a class of Brussels that
has been manufactured extensively by some makers in recent years, where
the yarn is spun from low wool or cow-hair, and is a good deal heavier
than the ordinary Brussels worsted counts. This fabric is almost
entirely confined to plains and stripes, though occasionally two frames
are used, and a simple pattern effect produced. It is a good wearing
carpet, and suitable for offices and modest purses.

[Illustration: FIG. 4
A, Chain; B, Pile warp; C, Stutter warp; E, Weft]

The fact is, however, that the demand for all qualities of Brussels
carpeting has fallen off steadily during the past few years; and the
reasons for this are strong and would seem likely to be permanent.
Brussels has suffered from the competition of Axminster on the one hand,
and Tapestry on the other. Brussels is, unfortunately, an uneconomic
fabric in its manufacture, inasmuch as, in a five-frame for instance,
for every length of worsted that appears on the surface, four times as
much is hidden in the body of the fabric, and, except in so far as it
acts as filling, is wasted. A Tapestry carpet, as will be explained
later, avoids this waste, and can therefore be produced with an equally
good surface as Brussels, and at a lower cost. We ignore for the moment
the characteristic defect of Tapestry carpets.

The cheaper Axminster, again, and to some extent the cheaper Chenille
Axminster as well, have largely superseded Brussels, owing to the fact
that they can be sold at almost the same price, while offering a more
luxurious effect with their cut pile surface and their larger range of

There are some dealers, moreover, who aver that the manufacturers of the
cheaper qualities of Brussels have themselves to blame for the decreased
demand, because these qualities were not satisfactory in wear, and in
particular were liable to “sprout.” Sprouting is the tendency of the
loops in the pile of a Brussels carpet to be pulled out through such
external agencies as a chair leg, a boot nail, a rubber heel, or the
claw of a dog or cat; though, indeed, complaints seem often to have been
framed as if on the assumption that sprouting was a natural property of
the carpet similar to that of its vegetable namesake. Still, the maker
has had to admit that cheaper qualities are more liable to the disease
than better ones, and perhaps his best retort has been that he was long
borne down in price and pressed to make cheaper qualities, and that
those who demand them must not complain too much if they do not get all
they expect.

Still, when all is said, with all its limitations, a good Brussels is an
excellent carpet. It has a clean surface which does not harbour dust,
and if the same can also be said of the Ingrain carpet, Brussels has the
extra resiliency afforded by the looped pile. If its colours are few,
they are enough to give thousands of effective variations, suitable for
almost any kind of design; and the comparative closeness of its pitch
makes its patterns neat and adaptable. A well-made Brussels carpet will
wear many years.

Reverting to the processes of manufacture, the roll of carpet goes from
the loom to the measuring table, where it is measured by hand or machine
before passing to the finishing or “picking” room. Here it is first
dried by passing over a steam-heated cylinder, or, in some places, by
being looped over a series of rails in a warm chamber. Then the back of
the carpet is picked; that is, the superfluous material, if any, is
removed and defects remedied. The roll is then passed through a shearing
machine, provided with a rapidly revolving shaft set with spiral blades,
where the surface is brushed and very lightly shorn, to remove loose and
projecting fibres. The surface of the carpet then is inspected by the
pickers, who mend any faults left from the weaving. Their work is
supervised and checked by the passers. At this stage, some manufacturers
pass their Brussels carpets, particularly the cheaper qualities, through
a pressing machine, in which heavy pressure on the looped pile is
exerted by rollers, the object being to obtain better cover, and to
prevent grinning. It is questionable, however, whether the process is of
any real benefit to the carpet, as it tends to impair the handle of the
fabric and the resiliency of the pile. The final stage in the finishing
department is the rolling and measuring, which is done mechanically,
after which the roll is ticketed, papered, and corded, and passes on its
journey to the packing room, carpet room, or warehouse, as the case may

A digression seems necessary here on the subject of breadth carpets,
Cairo or Chlidema squares. Originally, carpeting was only made in body
or filling 27 in. wide, and border 22½ or 18 in. wide, and in rolls or
pieces of about 50 yards; and if a bordered carpet was required, 15 ft.
by 12 ft., the dealer would cut it up from the pieces, using, say, four
breadths of filling each 12 ft. long, and enough border, ½ yd. wide, to
go all round, with mitred joints at the corners. There were several
objections to this method, which is, of course, still necessarily
employed in bordered carpets of unusual sizes. It involves a thick and
awkward seam at the mitres, where the border has to be cut and turned
under; it is wasteful, as odd-shaped bits of border are bound to be left
over; and it is inartistic, inasmuch as the figures in the border never
match perfectly at the mitre. Lastly, in Wiltons and in some Axminsters,
it causes false shading, because, the pile naturally leaning a little in
one direction, and not being perfectly vertical, the border will only
tone perfectly with the body on one side of the carpet. On the three
other sides the light will strike the pile at a different angle from
that at which it strikes the pile of the body, and give a different

In 1863, a carpet was manufactured at Kidderminster for presentation to
the late King Edward VII, then Prince of Wales, on the occasion of his
marriage. In view of the natural desire to produce an article worthy of
the event and of the industry, it was recognised that no trouble and
expense should be spared; and a carpet was designed and woven in such a
way as to obviate the defects enumerated above. The carpet was exhibited
publicly and aroused much admiration.

It is curious, however, to note that it was not until about twenty years
later that the new principle began to be generally adopted by carpet
manufacturers. The delay in utilising the idea was no doubt due to
recognition of the heavy expense involved in additional designing and
card stamping, and of the loss of production, and also to the absence of
any severe competition from Oriental and other seamless carpets.

The device consisted simply in designing and stamping not two but five
parts of the whole carpet: the filling, the border at each side
including the corner piece, and the border at top and bottom. When, as
is almost invariably the case, the width of the border is less than 27
in., the difference between the width and 27 in. is stamped in body, so
that, for example, an outside breadth containing 18 in. of border and 9
in. of body is woven in a 27 in. loom. This breadth, of course, also
contains at each end the corner piece, and 9 in. of the end border. The
inner breadths of the carpet will have 18 in. of border at each end, and
filling in between, woven so as to match on to the filling and border of
the breadths on each side. If will be readily seen that in this manner
the different breadths of a carpet can be woven consecutively on the
same loom, and that a harmonious effect as regards both design and
surface can be ensured. (See Figs. 5 and 5A.)

[Illustration: FIG. 5 & 5A    CHLIDEMA SQUARE]

The system has one or two minor limitations. The width of the carpet
must be some multiple of 2 ft. 3 in., and the matching of the side
borders with the corner pieces can only be perfect at certain lengths.
Again, the line of the seam is not concealed by coinciding with the
inner edge of the border; and, finally, these breadth squares are more
troublesome and expensive to make and handle at every stage than piece
goods. Indeed, manufacturers would be justified in charging a larger
difference of price between squares and pieces of the same quality than
many of them do.

In spite of the expense and loss of production involved, the device
proved on the whole a real boon both to the maker and consumer of
carpets, and was sooner or later adopted by practically all
manufacturers employing 3-4 wide looms. It placed those who utilised it
in a better position to compete with Eastern carpets, and it has thereby
contributed in no small degree to the artistic development of the carpet
trade. Indeed, it may almost be said to have saved the life of the
narrow loom, in view of the remarkable evolution and consequent
competition of the wide loom, to which further reference will be made

In recent years it has been turned to a notable development in the art
of carpet making; the production of medallion breadth squares. This
involves the exercise of the greatest ingenuity and skill on the part of
the designer, heavy expense in respect of card-cutting, and the greatest
care in weaving and finishing. When completed, a medallion square is a
triumph of technique. The number of sizes available is obviously
limited; but a carpet of each size is absolutely perfect in design,
matching everywhere, as well as if made laboriously by hand, instead of
being the product of machinery and brains.

Coming back once more to the final stages of finishing, though the roll
of carpeting, body, border, or stair, is complete and ready for the
market when it is rolled and papered, this is not the case with the
breadth square, which has so far been treated in the same way. The
square, or series of squares, which are still in a continuous roll, are
cut up into their proper lengths, matched, and sorted. They are then
passed to the sewing room, to be made up into complete carpets. Hand
sewing has been superseded in most factories by mechanical sewing, by
hand or electric power, for which Messrs. Singer supply a very efficient
machine. In the larger power machine made by this house, the breadths to
be sewn together are clipped face to face with flush edges, and
stretched in the frame of the machine in such a way that the moving part
of the mechanism runs along over the two edges and sews them together.
The ends of the carpet, top and bottom, are then turned over and hemmed
by hand or machine. The carpet is then fastened to the floor, face
downwards, and the seams are damped and then pressed with a heavy heated
iron. If these operations have been properly performed, and if the edges
of the breadths are good, the seams of the carpet will be barely
visible. The carpet is then finished, though some manufacturers prefer
to stretch their carpets by attaching them tightly to a frame, and
leaving them for some hours.

From the sewing room the carpets pass to the stock room or the packing

                               CHAPTER VI

WILTON carpeting is similar in manufacture in many respects to Brussels.
The loom is practically the same for both fabrics, convertible from one
to the other without much difficulty or expense. The preparation of
yarns for worsted pile, chain, stuffer, and weft is substantially
identical, while most of what has been said with regard to weaving and
finishing operations applies no less to Brussels than to Wilton.

The essential differences are two—a major and a minor one. In the first
place, the loops of worsted yarns are cut, so that the character of the
surface is velvety instead of smooth and ribbed. This is effected by the
use of a narrow wire ending in a knife blade, which blade stands outside
the fabric when the wire is inserted, but severs the loops of worsted
when the wire is withdrawn.

The second difference, which, however, does not apply to all grades of
Wilton carpet, is that for the sake of holding down the pile more
securely, there are three shots of weft to each row of pile, instead of
two. This is effected by an adjustment of the gear and harness motions,
in such a way that the lash or shed of worsted selected to form the
pattern does not rise alternately with the shed of the chain, but once
in every three picks of the shuttle or beats of the sley.

The cutting of the yarn, resulting as it does in exposing to view the
ends instead of the sides of the wool fibre, gives a richer and softer
surface effect both in appearance and in feel, while the treble weft
shot makes a better weave and a firmer fabric. Generally also Wilton
carpeting is woven closer, with more rows to the inch, than Brussels,
which necessitates, incidentally, the use of thinner wires.

The standard best or Super Wilton carpet is 256 pitch, with a beat-up of
10 to the inch, woven with a wire about 3/16 in. high; a linen weft is
used, and a stuffer of bump. Five frames of worsted are generally
employed. This is an excellent carpet for dining and drawing rooms,
theatres, show rooms, and restaurants, and will wear well. Several
better qualities are made, however; and the fabric lends itself readily
to fine and luxurious effects. Wires are used occasionally as high as
3/8 in. or more.

[Illustration: Fig. 6
A, Chain; B, Pile warp; C, Stuffer warp]

Depth of pile, however, is not the highest desideratum in a Wilton
carpet; and the most notable development of recent years in the fabric
has been in the direction of a fine, closely woven fabric with no
excessive wool surface. These fine Wiltons are made 256 pitch, 12 or 13
shots per inch, and are generally 2-shot, with chain, stuffer, and weft
of cotton. Neither depth of pile nor weight is aimed at, but fineness
and smoothness of surface and artistic effect; and their great
popularity in spite of the present high price seems to indicate that
they have justified themselves. At the present time most manufacturers
of Wilton produce a fine Wilton quality of this nature.

Among the better qualities of Wilton, mention must be made of Saxonies,
the name given to Wiltons woven with a heavy, sharply twisted twofold
Saxony worsted yarn, which possesses exceptional wearing qualities.

Below Super Wilton come the medium qualities, made in 236 pitch, 10 to
the inch, in five, four, and three frames; artistic and serviceable
carpets suitable for studies, bed-rooms, and what may be called general
use; while they are also in great demand for Cinema theatres.

The cheaper grades of Wilton are made in 214 pitch with three frames or
less. Their manufacture has been limited during the war by the
restricted supplies of worsted yarn; and even before that time they
suffered from the competition of woollen Wiltons, of which mention will
be made. The limitation of colours on the one hand, and the comparative
poverty of the fabric on the other, restricted the demand to those for
whom the question of price was important; and now that price-cutting has
passed away in an era of high values and shortage of material, these
qualities are out of favour.

Woollen Wiltons, or Wilton fabrics whose pile is made of a sharply
twisted woollen yarn, instead of worsted, require special mention. They
are of comparatively recent growth, and probably originated in the
effort of the Jacquard loom manufacturer to meet the competition of
Imperial Axminster, dating from the time when the price of the latter
fabric was round about 4s., and woollen yarn was correspondingly cheap.
It was necessarily rather an uphill fight for the Jacquard loom, because
the Axminster possessed the initial advantages of a greatly superior
range of colours, and of greater economy in manufacture owing to the
yarn being all on the surface.

The price of woollen Wiltons therefore had to be appreciably lower, and
the qualities cut as much as they would stand. Working on this basis,
however, the woollen Wiltons did justify their existence. Made mainly in
214 pitch, with three frames of yarn or less, and beaten up from 8½ to
7½ per inch, they achieved unambitious but ingenious and saleable
effects, and if the cover and consequent wear was not all that could
have been desired, yet they served a purpose.

But it must not be implied that the only woollen Wiltons were, or are,
the cheap grades. The suitability of woollen yarn for use in a Wilton
loom to produce a soft and even luxurious fabric with an Oriental effect
has long been recognised; and admirable qualities have been woven in 256
and 236 pitch with four or five frames of yarn and with fairly high
wires. Indeed, some of these can be regarded as more successfully
imitating the Eastern carpet in texture than even the finer worsted

Wilton carpeting lends itself particularly well to single shade effects:
plain Wiltons have been woven in a variety of qualities with both
worsted and woollen yarn for many years; and, indeed, the demand has
shown signs of a steady increase. For those who are content with a
single colour on the floor in their scheme of furnishing, and who do not
object to the sensitiveness of a plain carpet to “shading,” and, indeed,
to the recording of individual footprints, no fabric is better than a
plain Wilton. But it should be borne in mind that a plain carpet has
that defect. Wool fibre is elastic, but not infinitely so. A plain
carpet, however well and carefully woven, cannot be expected to retain
its virgin smoothness and level colour for long under wear. Wear on a
carpet is never evenly distributed: the feet tread down some places more
than others; the pile is depressed unequally, with the result that, in a
plain carpet, the light, falling at different angles upon the fibres
causes light and dark patches to appear. This is called shading, and is
often wrongly attributed to defective manufacture, or to the presence of
some foreign substance like oil. Shading actually occurs equally in
figured Wiltons; but it is rarely the subject of complaint, simply
because it is concealed by the design and colours.

Subject to this limitation, then, plain carpets, and plain Wiltons in
particular, are all right for those who like them. The manufacturer does
not regard them with great enthusiasm, for, though in some respects they
are easier to make than figured goods, yet they are exacting if they are
to be turned out perfectly. Moreover, they are more subject to
competition, and do not afford scope for artistic skill in design and
colour combination.

As has been indicated, Wilton carpeting, like Brussels, has, in
comparison with some of its competitors, two main limitations; one
economic and one artistic. For every square or tuft of yarn showing on
the surface, there are, roughly, from two to four parts uneconomically
used in the body of the fabric, and the number of shades that can be
used to work one over the other to form the pattern is limited to five,
or, exceptionally, to six. These limitations, however, are not serious
ones; and the Wilton carpet, in its higher grades, is regarded by many
as the best of all machine-made carpets. It is certainly the finest; and
closeness of texture, broadly speaking, means both finer effects and
better wear. The higher grades of Wilton are made, as has been stated,
in pitch and beat-up which give from 95 to 123 points to the square
inch; so that in the matter both of texture and of delicacy of design,
effects can be produced in Wilton which surpass those of any other
carpet fabric, with the exception of the finest Persians.

                              CHAPTER VII

AXMINSTER carpets, though in point of time a comparatively recent
development of the industry, may claim to be, in point of structure, the
nearest related of all machine-made fabrics to the Oriental ancestor.
The similarity lies in the fact that they are tufted; and the tuft,
though inserted in the fabric mechanically, and bound down without being
knotted, undoubtedly represents the knotted tuft of the original
hand-made carpet. The essential feature of a tufted Axminster carpet is
that the tufts are inserted row by row between the warp threads, either
before or after being cut off, and are then bound down by the weft, and
so woven into the ground of the texture. Each tuft is used on the
surface, and forms part of the design; none of the tuft material is
hidden away or wasted in the body of the fabric beyond what is needed
for attachment to the binding weft.

The Axminster loom was introduced into England from the United States
about 1878; and since that time the fabric has developed steadily, with
an increasing popularity, which has only been rivalled in recent years
by that of the Chenille Axminster. Bradbury, in commenting upon the
similarity of Axminster in structure and appearance to the original
hand-made carpet, says: “Generally speaking they are far superior to
Eastern and hand-made productions, and where price is permitted to enter
as a factor, they leave these primitive structures still further in the
rear.” This may appear to some an extravagant appreciation; but there
can be no difference of opinion as regards the general merits of the
fabric. It combines economy in the use of material, and in manufacture,
with richness of texture and almost unlimited potentialities of design
and colour effect.

As in other carpet fabrics, there are in Axminster plenty of varieties
of qualities; but there are comparatively few differences in structure,
such differences as exist being mainly matters of pitch, tuft, or method
of tufting and binding. The original Axminster quality was called the
Royal. This is about 5 per inch in the pitch, and 6 in the beat-up, with
a tuft of about 7/8 in. This held the field until 1893, when a strong
invasion of the British market by American Axminster, offered at a
considerably lower price, caused the Axminster makers of this country to
bestir themselves to meet this competition. They did so strenuously; and
the result was the production of the quality known as the Imperial
Axminster, which had an instant and a lasting success. This was made in
a pitch of 7 to the inch, and a beat-up of about 6½, and was put on the
market at a moderate price. For many years it held the position of being
the critical quality of the whole trade; the standard by which the value
of other qualities was measured, and, as has been intimated, it is only
of recent years that its position has been challenged by the Chenille

At the present time, it would probably be safe to estimate that
three-quarters of Axminster manufacturers’ looms are being run on this

The Imperial Axminster quality may, therefore, be taken as typical of
the fabric; and a description of how it is made will cover most of the
ground, while variations from the standard type can be indicated. The
quality itself is made in slightly different ways by different makers,
but a normal standard will have the usual double chain, preferably of
2-14 or other linen, but sometimes of cotton, a cotton stuffer, one end
to each reed, and a jute weft of about 2 fold 7½ lb. count. The pitch is
189 or 190 in the 3-4 width. Fig. 7 gives a transverse section through
the weft of the weave ordinarily employed. In this there are three warps
employed, the two chain warps being wound on one beam, and the stuffer
warp, which runs straight in the fabric, on another. There are three
double shots of weft to each row of tufts. The two halves of the chain
warp alternately bind two double shots above, the tuft binding shot and
the intermediate, and one below. The effect of this structure is to form
a flat back, and also, through the lateral pressure of the intermediate
weft upon the tuft weft, under the same warp shed, to give the tuft a
distinct inclination out of the vertical, adding thereby to the fabric a
point of similarity to the hand-tufted carpet.

[Illustration: FIG. 7
A, Chain; B, Tufts; C, Stuffer warp; D, Double weft]

The diagram of another method of weaving this quality is given in Fig.

Three warps are used here again, but as each undergoes a different rate
of consumption, they are wound upon three separate beams. The stuffer,
as before, runs straight; one chain binds the bottom and the
intermediate shots, and the other the tuft shot. In this case, the tuft,
equally supported on each side, tends to remain vertical, while the
bottom weft, projecting below the tuft weft, gives the back a ribbed

[Illustration: FIG. 8
A, Chain; B, Tufts; C, Stuffer warp; D, Double weft]

Each of these two weaves has its merits. The former gives better cover
with its sloping tuft, while the latter claims an increased resiliency
and immunity from the shading in made-up carpets, so noticeable with the
first-named weave.

Fig. 9 gives other but less usual structures. It may be noted that it is
possible to employ jute for the tuft binding and intermediate weft
shots, and at the same time a different yarn, preferably of woollen, for
the bottom weft, which shows on the back. This serves to make the carpet
heavier and more elastic to the tread.

Axminster may to some extent be compared with Tapestry and Chenille, in
that it is essentially a two-process fabric; and the pile yarns are
arranged so as to form the design before they are put into the loom. The
actual method of preparation of the colours is, however, quite different
from that employed in either of the other two fabrics.

[Illustration: FIG. 9.

The yarn is received from the dye-house in skeins, and is wound on to
large bobbins with a 6 in. face. The yarn from these bobbins has then to
be wound on to a series of wide spools, the number of which will be the
number of the rows of tufts in one complete repeat of the design to be
woven, while each spool contains as many ends of yarn as there are
squares in the width of the design. This operation is called setting, or
sometimes, reeding-in.

The 6 in. bobbins, in number equal to the pitch of the carpet, say, 189
or 190 for the 3-4 width of the typical quality mentioned above, are
arranged on a creel frame fitted with horizontal pegs in order
corresponding with the colours of the first row of the design.
Alternatively, a horizontal frame or table is employed, fitted with
vertical pegs for the bobbins. This has the advantage of being more
compact and accessible, but the colours are not so easily distinguished.
The ends of the yarn from each bobbin are led on to the wide spool,
through an open sley, which is opposite to it and equal in width. These
ends, suitably tensioned, are then wound on to the wide spool. For a
design of average length of repeat, say 1 yd., one full spool will weave
about 250 yds. When the spool is full, therefore, the yarns are cut, and
fastened down; and as many more spools are filled with the same
arrangement of colours as are needed to weave the required quantity. The
operators then re-arrange the bobbins in the creel frame in accordance
with the second row of the design paper, which is set up in some
convenient place for reference, draw them in order through the sley on
to the spool, wind a second set of spools, and so on; each spool being
numbered with its rotation as soon as filled.

When the spools for the whole of the repeat are wound, whether one or
more for each row of tufts, they are passed to women, whose task it is
to thread the ends through a series of tin tubes, the number of which
corresponds with the number of ends on each spool. The tubes are
soldered to a piece of tin, of L-shaped section, which is attached to
the tufting carriage. The spools with tubes attached are then placed in
the carriages, and are ready to be set up in order in the loom for

[Illustration: FIG. 10
A, Wide spool; B, Pin; C, Finger; D, Tufting carriage; E, Tubes; soldered
  at F; G, Guide-bar; H, Transferring arm; I, Finger; K, Spring; L, Link of
  chain; M, Side view of tube; N, Angle attachment]

The tufting carriages are then placed, in the correct rotation so as to
form the pattern, upon a pair of endless chains, which are actuated by
the driving mechanism of the loom in such a way as to have an
intermittent motion so that, when each spool is in position to make its
row of tufts, the chains remain at rest long enough for the spool to be
removed from them, lowered for the tubes to enter the warp threads; for
the tufts to be cut off, and the spool to be replaced on the chains.

Each spool with its set of tubes and carriage, therefore, is so set in
the chains that it can be automatically detached at the right moment and
brought into position to form its successive line of fur. The mechanism
that effects these ingenious movements is too complicated to describe
here. It is an object lesson as to what variable and intermittent
motions can be produced by combinations of cams, bowls, levers, rods,
etc., while it gives the Axminster loom the distinction of being
probably the most ingenious of all carpet looms, subject perhaps to that
remarkable piece of mechanism, the Jacquard, not being regarded as
exclusively part of a carpet loom.

When the spool reaches the lowest point in the path of the double chain
which carries it, a few inches above the fell of the cloth, it is nipped
by an arm from each side, and conveyed downwards in such a way that the
tubes with the ends of the tuft yarns projecting are made to enter the
spaces between the upper shed of the chain warp with a slight sweeping
movement from the front to the back. This has the result of trailing the
ends of the yarn close to the fell of the cloth and the last row of
tufts, and leaving a space below the upper shed of the chain, so that
the weft-carrying needle is able to insert a double shot above the
middle of the exposed lengths of tuft yarn.

The tufting tubes are now lifted out of the shed, and somewhat forward
towards the fell of the carpet, so as to double the tuft round the
binding shot. At the same time the sley comes forward, presses against
the tuft yarns and the weft enclosed by them, and carries them up to the
breast comb and the fell of the carpet. With the tuft yarns and the
spool in position, another shot of weft is inserted, either with or
without a change of the warp shed, as the case may be, to assist in
holding fast the row of tufts in the carpet. The tufting carriage and
tubes are then lifted high enough to draw off a sufficient length of
yarn to form the next row of tufts in the following repeat. The tufts
are then cut by the meeting of two broad knives, which come together at
the level of the surface of the carpet with a scissor-cutting motion.
The spool and carriage are then replaced in the chains, moved one step
forward; and the succeeding spool is brought into position.

It may be desirable to mention a different method of inserting the tuft
yarn. In this case the spool is detached from the chain and made to
descend almost straight, turning about 60° out of the vertical towards
the back of the loom just as the tubes enter the warp shed. This has the
effect of turning the free ends of the tufts somewhat upwards. The spool
is then turned again so that the tubes are vertical, and are brought
close against the fell of the cloth. The binding weft is then inserted,
and the sley comes forward to carry the tufts up against the breast. At
this stage, a toothed comb, made in two parts, one working over the
other, comes up from below the breast to turn upwards the loose ends of
the pile through the warp, one part of the double comb, called the dummy
comb, slipping over the other so as to clear any tufts which might be
pulled down on to the back. Then the second binding weft is put in,
behind the tufts; and at the same time the tufts are cut. There is
another beat-up of the sley, and the bottom weft is inserted. This
completes the cycle; the warp chains change; and the process is

An alternative fashion of cutting to the double scissor or guillotine
knives is sometimes employed, a circular knife in front engaging against
a fixed straight knife at the back. This system has the advantage that
the knives have not to be kept sharp, though they must be very
accurately adjusted.

The weft motion is another ingenious piece of mechanism. The weft is
inserted in the warp shed by a needle about 5/8 in. in diameter,
entering from the right-hand side of the loom. The jute weft is conveyed
from a ball, tensioned by suitable springs, and threaded through the eye
of the needle. It is obvious that the weft shot must be double, and also
that it would not stay in the shed after the withdrawal of the needle,
unless it were caught in some way at the left hand of the loom. This is
effected by a small shuttle carrying the edge-thread. This shuttle is
similar to a sewing machine shuttle, but larger, being about 3 in. long
and 1 in. in diameter. It runs backwards and forwards in a semicircular
shuttle-race, and is so adjusted that it passes under a notch near the
end of the needle, and over a loop of the weft, carrying the edge-thread
through the loop, and holding it taut while the needle is receding in
such a way as to prevent the weft slipping back, and to make a good
selvedge to the carpet. When it is desired to use two different weft
threads, the needle has an open eye, or hook near its end, instead of
the ordinary eye, and the two wefts in turn are presented to this eye by
a rocking eyeletted weft-carrier, so that the needle picks up the weft
just before it enters the shed.

There have been other developments of the Axminster principle of
inserting tufts into the weave of the fabric, and variations from the
method of the wide spool and tubes. Of these, the most successful has
been based upon the idea of conveying the cut tufts by means of nippers
or grippers into the fell of the cloth. This has been worked in
combination with the wide spools, but more satisfactorily in combination
with yarn carriers operated by a Jacquard with a differential lift
mechanism for selecting the colours.

In this loom, which has been brought to perfection for various
qualities, pitches, and widths, in recent years, the pile yarns are
wound on to creel bobbins, which are arranged, in much the same way as
in Brussels and Wilton, in creel frames behind the loom. A frame of
bobbins is a set of bobbins of the same shade, equal in number to the
pitch of the loom. The number of frames is limited in practice to about
16, which, however, aided by “planting,” admit of design and colour
effects comparable with those obtainable in Royal Axminster.

The yarns are led between guide bars and through perforated plates into
the carriers, which are vertical strips of steel or brass grooved back
and front and drilled with a series of slots, through which the ends of
the yarn pass, being held in position by small springs. The frames of
yarn are threaded through the holes in the carriers in order, so that
the yarns of the top frame pass through the highest hole in the carrier,
the second frame through the second hole, and so on. Viewed from in
front, the ends of each frame of yarn will be seen in horizontal lines
one above the other in the front grooves of the carriers.

These carriers are connected by cords or wires with a differential lift
mechanism, which is actuated by the Jacquard, in such a way that the
blank or perforation on the Jacquard card, corresponding with a certain
colour, causes the carrier to be lifted until that colour is at the
required height.

It can readily be understood that cards perforated in different ways,
and presented to the Jacquard at once, can cause the carriers all across
the loom to be lifted varying heights in such a way as to show at the
required level a horizontal row of thread ends, corresponding to a row
across the width of the paper design. The sequence of these rows, of
course, forms the pattern.

It remains to cut off the tufts, to lay them in their place at the fell
of the cloth, and weave them into the carpet.

There is a set of grippers, in shape very similar to the neck and beak
of a bird, mounted on three shafts, and arranged so as to revolve in
about a semicircle between the carriers and the fell of the carpet. The
Jacquard, having operated so as to present the ends of the required
colour in the carriers in a horizontal line, the grippers come up in
front of them with open beaks, which are inserted just into the carrier
grooves, and then close, nipping the ends of the yarn. The whole of the
frame in which the carriers are mounted is then withdrawn away from the
points of the grippers a sufficient distance to give the required length
of tuft. A flat-toothed comb of hardened steel, of the same pitch as the
grippers, carriers, and carpet, drops down with its points between the
threads so as to hold them steady, while a travelling knife or set of
knives, passing along the face of the comb, severs the tufts. The
grippers then descend into the warp threads, laying the tufts against
the fell of the carpet; the needle or shuttle passes over them and
through the shed, carrying the binding weft, which is beaten up by the
open sley, at the same time as the grippers open to release the end of
the tuft, and double it upwards. Two other shots are inserted, while the
grippers move in their semicircular path upwards to seize the next row
of tufts, and again downwards to lay them in place.

The advantages claimed for this very ingenious method of Axminster
weaving are: that the preparatory processes are considerably simpler
than with the Royal and Crompton patents; that the quantity of any
pattern to be woven can be better controlled; and that it involves less
waste. There is no disadvantage in the weaving of a small quantity, if
required, as 1 yard or 500 can be woven equally well; and the yarn left
over at the end of an order can be cut off at the back of the carriers
with a minimum of waste, and stored conveniently on creel bobbins. The
cutting mechanism is also so good, that the surface waste is reduced to
a negligible quantity, and a minimum of shearing and finishing is

However this may be, it is noteworthy that the principle has been
applied with complete success to looms for weaving wide seamless
carpets, where the gripper mechanism, though necessarily heavy, has
probably a distinct advantage over the wide spool and tubes.

Axminster, like other carpet fabrics, has tended to develop in the
direction of wide seamless goods; and this is a tendency that will be
worth watching, leading as it does towards the evolution of the ideal
carpet—a machine-made knotted fabric. Ideal, that is to say, in the
sense that the knotting of a tuft on to a groundwork of warp and weft is
the best way of putting a carpet together, and having regard for the
facts that we live in a mechanical age; that we cannot afford time or
money to make our own carpets by hand; and that we ought not to buy
foreign hand-made carpets. Experiments in mechanically knotted carpets
have continually been made, and definite progress has been won in recent
years; but the technical difficulties are considerable, and it will be
interesting to see whether a carpet of so exceptional a weave can be put
on the market, except at a price comparable only with that of a
hand-tufted fabric. Meanwhile, the seamless tufted Axminster, as it is
now made in two or three forms, with tufts as securely fastened for all
practical purposes into the body of the fabric as if they were knotted,
holds the field as the nearest approach to the ideal, and is deserving
of a far larger measure of support from the British consumer that it has
enjoyed hitherto.

                              CHAPTER VIII

CHENILLE Axminster carpeting possesses one or two features which
differentiate it sharply from other kinds of carpet. It is the product
of two distinct processes: the formation of the chenille fur, and the
weaving of that fur, which is the weft, into a carpet. It is, in fact,
about the only cut-pile carpet fabric in which the pattern is
distinctively formed by the weft; for in almost all other makes the weft
only performs the function of combining with the chain to form the woven

Taking first the manufacture of the fur, the dyed yarn, which is
normally a single woollen, about 55 yards per ounce, is wound on cops
which fit inside the shuttles for the weft looms. Before starting to
weave, the weaver will have a supply of cops of all the colours required
in the carpet. The paper design will show full size, the whole of the
pattern, filling and border, that repeats, in the colours that are to be
used. The design is cut up horizontally into strips two squares wide;
and the weaver works by this paper strip, which is attached to the
fabric in its length, inserting and changing the shuttles carrying yarn
of various colours. The warp of the loom consists of sets of ends of
fine cotton at intervals of about ½ in. Thus the woven fabric consists
of a woollen weft of various colours held together at intervals by a
fine cotton warp.

The pitch of the warp varies, of course, according to the character and
quality of the fur to be made, the scales, indicating the number of sets
of warp threads to the yard, being, normally, either 28, 38, 56, 76, or
112. On an ordinary weft loom, making a fabric 42 in. wide, on a 76
scale, there will be 88 strips, which will make two repeats of a certain
portion, say 4½ in. long, of 44 carpets. The average length of the woven
strip is about 48 yards.

[Illustration: FIG. 11

The weaver has to insert by hand the shuttle carrying the required
colour to match the square or squares on the painted strip of design
paper, count the number of shots needed, stop the loom, change the
shuttle and re-start the loom; so that it will be seen that quickness of
eye and dexterity are required.

A mechanical device has been invented for changing the shuttles; but it
is not automatic, and does not appear to present any distinct advantage
over the method of changing by hand; and it can only be employed with a
limited number of colours.

The fabric is beaten up from 12 to 20 shots per inch, according to the
quality of the fur required; but the closer beats up are only suitable
for worsted yarn.

[Illustration: FIG. 12

The next process is the fur-cutting. The roll of cloth with its
horizontal stripes is taken to the cutting machine, where it is cut into
strips by a series of knives set upon a revolving cylinder, and spaced
so that they sever the woollen weft-threads as the fabric passes over
the cutting bed, and leave the independent strips of fur held together
by the fine cotton warp.

[Illustration: FIG. 13

Immediately after being cut free, these strips of fur pass over a jet of
steam and a steam-heated cylinder, whose surface is formed with a series
of V-shaped grooves. This has the result of folding upwards the cut ends
of the woollen yarn, and giving a permanent V-shape in section to the
fur. The object of this is that when the fur comes to be woven, its pile
shall all be turned in one direction. The damping of the fur just before
the grooved cylinder is sometimes effected by rollers revolving in a
trough filled with water.

The newly formed fur is then reeled off into individual skeins. It is
marked both with its pattern number and series number, and sorted into
its proper sets.

For a carpet 9 ft. wide beaten up 4 shots per inch, it will be seen that
each inch in the length of the carpet will require no less than 12 yards
of fur weft, so that a strip of fur 48 yards long will only weave 4
inches; and if the repeat of a design be a yard long, 9 series of fur
strips will be needed. The fur strips are, therefore, sorted into their
sets and numbered from 1 to 9 for a 1 yard repeat, or as the case may
be; and are stored in bundles of skeins until required.

We now come to the second part of Chenille manufacture, the weaving up
of the fur into the carpet. This is done on a setting loom, which may be
regarded for the present purpose as normally of a width of 9 ft. or
upwards. This is not saying that Chenille is not woven in narrower
widths, for Chenille is woven in pieces 27 in. and 36 in. wide, and a
very large business is done in rugs of various widths between about the
same limits.

When a carpet is ordered, the fur in bundles of skeins is handed out to
the cop-winder, whose duty it is to wind the skeins on to cops for use
in the setting loom, and to serve them to the weavers in their proper
order. Cops are always the same size, but the length of carpet that a
cop will weave depends, of course, on the width of the carpet.

The setting loom is prepared for work by the threading of ends of warp
from various beams through eyelets carried on gear frames, in much the
same way as in a Brussels or Wilton loom. Indeed, this principle is
common to all woven fabrics, varying only in its application, that is to
say, in the number and arrangement of the warp beams, the yarn employed,
and the pitch.

[Illustration: FIG. 14

                          A,  Chenille fur
                          C,  Fur wefts
                          D,  Catcher warp
                          E,  Float warp
                          F,  Stuffer warp
                          G,  Chain
                          H,  Filling weft]

In a typical Chenille carpet, such as that which is beaten up 4 to the
inch, as above mentioned, the pitch of the design will be 12 or 13 per
inch (the beat-up of the weft), and of the sley 7, though, indeed, the
latter is arbitrary, and need bear no relation to the fur. There will be
three warp beams, the catcher beam, the chain beam, and the stuffer
beam. A fourth is often added, called the float. The catcher warp
consists of fine cotton, coloured in some neutral shade, so as to be as
nearly invisible as possible, its function being merely to hold down the
fur weft when it is inserted into the fabric. The chain, or ground warp,
which is generally of jute yarn, is double, and is threaded on to two
gears, which rise and fall alternately as in Brussels. The stuffer or
dead warp, also of jute, runs straight into the fabric, and gives it

For a 3½ or 4 per inch Chenille carpet, of average quality, two shuttles
will be used, one carrying the jute binding weft, and the other the fur.
There are four picks of jute weft to one of fur, and at the end of the
fifth pick the loom stops automatically with the chain and stuffer
horizontal, and the catcher warp forming a shed, under which the fur has
just been carried. The weavers, two to each wide loom, will then set the
fur, taking care that it matches correctly against the last fur shot,
and that the pile points upwards. They will also lightly comb up the
fur, so that it beds against the last shot, and the catcher threads
settle down neatly through the pile. This done, the loom is re-started:
the first beat of the sley pushes the fur shot home, and the next four
jute shots are put in.

For closer weaves than 4 per inch, two jute weft shots may suffice,
while heavy woollen-backed carpets are produced by the employment of a
shuttle carrying a woollen weft.

In the case of heavy-backed carpets, the double shed is usually
employed, the adjoining chain ends rising alternately, so that they show
on the back in diagonal lines.

The object of a float warp, which rises a little above the level of the
stuffer warp just when the fur shot is being woven, is to support the
fur shot, and give a fuller and more level effect to the carpet.

There is another method of inserting the weft adopted in looms of a
different make, whereby it is carried between the catcher and the other
gears by a travelling arm, which leads the fur from a basket or can in
which it is placed loose. This has the advantage of enabling a long
length of fur to be woven, while it also avoids the crushing of the fur
which results from its being wound on to a cop. With this method the
catcher beam is placed high up in the middle of the loom, and the sley
is made of stronger reeds, open at the top to allow the catcher warp
ends to descend between them.

From the loom the complete carpet passes to the finishing room, where it
is picked back and front, brushed, steamed, combed, and shorn; all these
processes tending to fill out and level the surface. It is then passed
or examined for any defects that may have escaped notice in the first
mending. The ends of the carpet, which are woven without fur, are turned
over and hemmed, preferably by machine. The carpet is then subjected to
a final scrutiny before being swept, rolled, and dispatched to the
packing room or warehouse.

As has been intimated, considerable variety of quality can be obtained
in Chenille Axminster by altering the pitch and thickness of the fur in
the weft loom, or the beat-up in the setting loom. In practice, however,
competition has centred mainly round two standards of quality: one about
12 shots of yarn per inch in the fur, by 3½ or 4 per inch beat-up in the
setting loom; and the other about 14 in the fur and 5 in the setting
loom. Extra qualities, however, are also largely made, and heavy fabrics
which give an excellent imitation of some Oriental carpets.

Chenille carpets have increased enormously in popularity during the past
few years; and the cheaper quality may be considered to have challenged
even Imperial Axminster in the consumer’s favour, and almost to have
become the critical fabric of the industry. The reason for this is not
far to seek. The taste of carpet users all over the world has tended in
recent times more and more in the direction of seamless carpets; while
the demand for piece goods, in body and border, has correspondingly
declined. The evolution of the Chlidema square, woven in 27 in. breadths
with a border matching all round, has been to some extent the cause of
the loss of the piece goods trade; and it succeeded in retaining the
business, though in smaller bulk, for the 3-4 yd. looms, both in
Brussels and Wilton, and later, in a less degree, for tufted Axminster.
But the breadth square has had to give way before the seamless square,
and in particular before the seamless Chenille Axminster square. The
cheap Chenille fabric possesses several marked advantages over Brussels
and Wilton, Tapestry, and even over, tufted Axminster breadth squares.
It is without seam; it gives a comparatively luxurious surface with the
absolute minimum of wool; and it is practically unlimited in colour.
Further, the looms are not expensive to erect and run, and in this
respect the Chenille square has an initial advantage over the seamless
Wilton or tufted Axminster carpets, which necessitate costly and
complicated machinery. On the other hand, it has its disadvantages. It
is not made in a fineness of pitch which admits of effects of design
obtainable readily in Wilton or even in tufted Axminster, while, however
skilful the setting may be, there is an inherent tendency to
irregularity in the pattern, which is apt to offend the critical eye.
Further, in the cheaper qualities, which form the great bulk of the
sale, the wearing qualities do not compare favourably with those of,
say, Imperial Axminster. These disadvantages, however, do not deter that
numerous class of consumers which demands an attractive carpet at a
moderate price.

                               CHAPTER IX

TAPESTRY is a fabric made alternatively with a looped pile or a cut
pile, which possesses a close affinity to Brussels and Wilton
respectively, in its appearance and texture. In its method of
manufacture, however, it has something in common with Chenille, inasmuch
as it is essentially a two-process fabric, while the pattern is wholly
in the surface, and is the direct result of the preliminary and not of
the weaving process. No Jacquard is used.

In comparison with its nearest competitors, Brussels and Wilton,
Tapestry is simple in construction, and economical in the quantity of
pile yarn consumed, as there is only one pile warp-thread carrying the
pattern, as against four or five threads in the two fabrics named. It
also has the advantage of a practically unlimited range of colours. On
the other hand, Tapestry is expensive in the preparatory processes, and
requires a high degree of technical knowledge and skill.

The underlying principle of the fabric, which was invented by Mr.
Richard Whytock, of Edinburgh, in 1852, is the attainment of the economy
of using one frame of worsted yarn by printing or painting the pattern
on the threads, instead of using five frames, each of a different
colour. Several methods have been tried for printing the pattern on the
warp, such as printing upon the surface either white or dyed, after
weaving; printing the warp threads collectively before weaving; and
printing the warp threads individually. In the two last named cases the
design or part of the design has to be printed in an elongated form to
allow for the reduction caused by the insertion of the wires in weaving.

Modern Tapestry manufacture, however, has practically concentrated upon
the last-named method; so that the others can be disregarded for the
present purpose.

[Illustration: FIG. 15

In common with other carpet fabrics, the design for a Tapestry carpet
must be put upon squared paper, which is preferably, at least, of the
actual size. There is no limitation of colour beyond that imposed by
considerations of taste and of expense. The pitch of the carpet varies
from 7 to 9 per inch, and the beat-up about the same; but the average
quality is about 8 each way.

The design having been prepared, it passes to the printers, who are
responsible for colouring the yarns in such a way that they can be
assembled ready for producing the correct pattern in the weaving. As the
warp carries the whole of the pattern, and the different colours of the
design are printed on the warp threads, the design must be read
lengthwise. Each square on the design paper represents a loop of the
warp in the woven carpet.

[Illustration: FIG. 16

The length of colour to be printed on the warp thread must, of course,
bear an accurate relation to the height of the wire used and the number
of wires per inch. This is a matter of calculation. The length of yarn
consumed in 1 inch is determined. This length, divided by the number of
wires, or loops per inch, gives the length of warp yarn to be coloured
for each wire. Thus, for a carpet of nine wires to the inch, 3 inches of
warp yarn are required for each inch of the carpet. The length of each
unit of colour to be printed is, therefore, 1/3 in. The mechanism of the
printing drum is adjusted accordingly, and can be varied for different

The normal yarn used in Tapestry varies in count from 10s 2 × 2 to 16s 2
× 3 worsted. It is scoured and dried, and then wound from hanks on to
large bobbins. A set of six of these bobbins, or more or less, filled
with the white yarn, is placed vertically on a stand in front of the
printing drum; and the six ends of worsted are attached at equal
intervals to a triple thread of worsted stretched across the width of
the drum. The threads, properly tensioned, pass through guides, and are
wound on to the face of the drum, the guides being mounted on a rod
which is slowly moved laterally in such a manner that the threads are
laid side by side on the surface of the drum. The revolution of the drum
continues until the whole face is covered, or until the required length
of yarn has been wound. In the latter case, fewer bobbins are put on,
and the drum is left partly uncovered. To fill a drum of ordinary size,
then, there will be required 1,176 threads, which will be obtained from
196 revolutions. Each of the six divisions is called a hank, and is tied
separately. Whatever the number of threads and length of the hank, the
whole length of the yarn on the drum represents one warp thread only.

The printing drum is a large roller constructed with a wooden or tin
face supported upon an iron frame and spokes, the central shaft and
external mechanism being carried upon iron framework. Drums are of
various sizes, varying in circumference from 12 ft. 6 in. to 40 ft., and
in width of face from 18 in. to 72 in., capable of carrying from 700 to
1,200 threads side by side. The most usual width is 30 in. The size of
drums is reckoned by the number of “scrolls” or “types,” that is, lines
of colour, they will carry. These are commonly 216, 324, 432, 648, 864,
or 1,072 scrolls; but an average size is 648.

An essential part of the drum is the double row of teeth cut on a metal
edge attached to one of the outer rims of the drum. These are called
indices and are of different pitch, say 648 and 432, corresponding to
one or other of the scrolls. Each tooth is numbered consecutively, all
round the rim; and the indices represent the total number of scrolls
which can be printed, since the pitch of each tooth permits the drum to
revolve just the width of the scroll pulley. A pawl or scotcher is
arranged so as to engage in each tooth and stop the drum when required.
Before printing, the drum is covered with strips of oilcloth, which are

[Illustration: FIG. 17

The actual printing or painting of the yarn is effected by means of the
scroll pulley, which revolves in a box The arrows show where the repeats
begin containing the colour, the whole being borne by a carriage running
on rails across the width of the drum at the bottom of the frame. The
colours are made up by an expert colourist to match the required shades,
and by the admixture of flour and water are brought to the necessary
consistency, which is about that of a thin paste, so that the colouring
matter is dense enough to adhere, but liquid enough to penetrate the
yarn fibres. In the carriage, the colour roller, which revolves in the
colour, is supported by springs which tend to give it elasticity and
keep it up against the face of the drum. The carriage is drawn across
the drum by a rope which is mechanically actuated, and, of course,
harmonises with the revolution of the drum. At the end of each traverse
of the colour carriage there is a pause, which gives the printer time to
change the pawl into the new tooth of the index at which it is required.

The printer is guided in his selection of colours for each scroll that
he prints by the “scale board” and the “design board.”

Scale boards vary according to the pitch of the design paper, and
according to the length of the design, and the number of times in which
a design repeats in one revolution of the printing drum. Thus, for a
design on squared paper running seven per inch in its length, the scale
board is marked into divisions of seven to the inch throughout its
length, so as to correspond with the horizontal divisions on the design
paper. Supposing a design repeats four times in the whole revolution, a
quarter board is employed; if it repeats twice a half board, the total
number of scrolls being divided into four or two respectively. Thus, if
the size of the drum is 648 scrolls and the number of wires in one
repeat of the pattern is 162, the quarter board will have four vertical
columns of figures, running respectively 1-162, 163-324, 325-486, and
487-648. The scale board has a bevel edge, and is preferably arranged so
that it can be moved over the design board and aligned with the vertical
line of the design which the printer is reproducing.

[Illustration: FIG. 18

Fig. 18 represents part of a scale and design board combined. The
numbers along the top indicate the threads in the design, and the
printer may be supposed to be ready to print the eighth thread. The
numbers on the right-hand side represent the wires in the carpet, with
which the numbers on the scale board and the scrolls in printing
correspond. The design is 216 wires long; and as the number of scrolls
the drum will take is 648, the design is repeated three times in one
revolution. The scale board is numbered in three columns; and for the
first, second, and third repeats of the design, the printer uses the
first, second, and third divisions on his scale.

To minimise the danger of bad effects from a colour running, the rule is
to begin printing with the lightest shade. In this instance, the
lightest colour is yellow, represented (heraldically) by spots, and it
occurs first at the fourth horizontal line. The printer, therefore,
turns the drum by hand, and puts the pawl in tooth number 4. He then
puts the mechanism in gear and prints the scroll in the manner
described, following on immediately by printing a second scroll at
number 5. He then reads further down the eighth vertical line of the
design, and sees that the colour recurs at 10, 11, 18, 19, 24, and 25.
He therefore puts the pawl in the corresponding teeth of the index
consecutively and prints accordingly. When all the yellow squares
corresponding to the first column of the scale board have been read, he
will take the second column, and print 220, 221, 226, 227, 234, 235,
240, 241 and so on, and then those in the third column. The remaining
colours will then follow on in order of their delicacy.

When the printing of a drum has been completed, the next process is
scraping. The scroll pulley in the act of printing always conveys more
pigment on to the yarn than is needed to colour it, a little wall of
material being left on each side of the path of the roller. This has to
be removed, or it would smudge. This is done by means of small vulcanite
tools, bevelled to a blunt edge, from ½ in. to 2 in. wide, the operator
being aided by a steel bar fixed across the face of the drum as a guide.
Scraping has, however, a further purpose beyond the removal of
superfluous colour, and one no less important; for by skilful pressure
and rubbing, the colour is caused to penetrate more deeply into the

[Illustration: FIG. 19

The yarn, having been printed and scraped, has now to be taken off the
drum; a process known as “stripping.” The threads are looped together in
hanks, and numbered with a ticket to show which thread each represents
in the design. The drum is so constructed that a section of it can be
drawn inwards upon a telescopic arm of the drum frame. The yarn is thus
released from its tension round the drum face; and the strippers,
inserting long sticks under the oilcloth, lift it and the yarn clear of
the drum. One side of the frame which carries the drum shaft is made
removable to enable the yarn to be taken away.

The long hanks are then ready for steaming. They are placed with as
little handling as possible upon latticed frames filled with oat-husks.
The frames are then run into an iron-walled steam-chest, which is
securely closed, and into which steam is turned at high pressure. The
effect of the steam pressure and heat is to fix the colours on the yarn.
The operation takes about half an hour. Some makers prefer to put the
hanks into net bags for steaming, or to lay them on network frames,
without the bran. But the first method described is probably the best,
as the bran tends to absorb the superfluous colour, and prevents it from
dripping from one hank on to another.

After steaming, the hanks are thoroughly rinsed, preferably by a large
rocking arm fitted with a hook, in cold running water. The yarn is then
partly dried in a hydro-extractor and finished in a stove. Each hank is
then wound on to large bobbins, which are numbered so that the setters
know to which part of the design each belongs.

[Illustration: FIG. 20

The next process is setting. The object of the operations up to this
point has been to make a set of warp threads which contain the pattern
of the carpet in an elongated form in such a way that, when woven in the
loom, the loops as seen in the carpet will accurately reproduce the
design. It is the business of the setters to arrange the threads
alongside one another in proper order and dressing so that they form the
pattern, and to wind them thus arranged on to the warp beam.

[Illustration: FIG. 21

The warp beam is at one end of the setting frame; the bobbin-stand,
which moves on pinion feet upon a rack, at the other.

[Illustration: FIG. 22
W, Wires]

The bobbins having been set in proper order on the vertical pegs in the
bobbin frame, the ends from them are led between guide rails, through a
sley, through two halves of a clamp, over the setting table, through
another sley, and a second clamp, on to the warp beam. In the first
instance, the setters hold down the yarn in the clamp next to the warp
beam. They then adjust and manipulate the threads over the setting
table, which is marked with horizontal lines, in accordance with the

[Illustration: FIG. 23
A, Chain; B, Pile warp; C, Stuffer warp; E, Weft]

The other clamp is then screwed down, the first one unscrewed, and the
yarn wound on to the beam, the bobbin-stand moving forward along its
rack up to the setting table. This operation is continued until the
whole of the yarn has been wound from the bobbins on to the beam, which
is now ready to be put into the loom and woven.

[Illustration: FIG. 24

The method of weaving is substantially the same as with Brussels; and
except for the pile warp beam, which is generally placed high up at the
back of the loom, and for the absence of a Jacquard, the mechanism of
the loom is not dissimilar. There are three heald-frames: two for the
two halves of the cotton chain, and one for the stuffer and the pile
warp, the jute and worsted being threaded through two eyelets, one below
the other. The Tapestry loom is run at rather a higher speed than the
Brussels, the Moxon or switch principle of wire motion, which is
generally adopted, tending to make this possible. A double stuffer, that
is, two ends of jute, of 14 lb. or 16 lb. count, to each reed, is used
for an average quality; and a treble stuffer where greater weight is

[Illustration: FIG. 25
A, Chain; B, Stuffer warp; C, Pile warp; D, Weft]

Tapestry velvet bears the same relation to the looped fabric as Wilton
does to Brussels, the essential difference being the use of a
knife-ended wire, instead of a round wire. The use of three weft shots
per row of pile is not, however, the almost invariable rule in Tapestry
velvet, that it is in Wilton.

[Illustration: FIG. 26

A three-shot fabric is, of course, more expensive to make than a
two-shot; and there is also the consideration that, unless the pile is
pretty high, the double shot on the top will tend to make the surface
grin. The method, therefore, of using a double shot in the ground is
sometimes adopted. (Fig. 26.)

The Tapestry branch of the carpet trade has naturally passed through a
development similar to that of other makes, in that it has found the
demand passing from piece goods to sewn breadth squares, and from them
to seamless carpets; and it has progressed accordingly. The greater part
of the Tapestry trade at the present time is done in squares, and the
enquiry for carpets 9 ft. and 12 ft. wide seems to be a growing one.
This tendency throws additional burdens on the manufacturer. Square
carpets involve more designing and more printing than piece goods; and
the amount of preparation required is a very serious item. Before one
complete carpet can be produced, preparations have to be made for from
200 to 300, or, in the case of medallions, double the number. That is
one of the disadvantages of the manufacture; a further defect is
inherent in the fabric. However accurately and carefully the processes
of printing, scraping, setting, and weaving may be carried out, the
transition from one colour to another cannot be made quite sudden and
complete. The colour will appear to have run; and the shade which
belongs to one wire will tend to trespass on to the next. This means
that with Tapestry it is never quite possible to produce the
clearly-defined pattern effect, which is produced in Brussels and
Wilton, and which is naturally looked for in all fabrics of moderately
fine pitch.

Apart from this, the Tapestry carpet has much to commend it. It can be
produced and sold at a moderate price; it can be made seamless, and it
has great potentialities of design; while, for those who like plenty of
colour, the range of shades available is practically unlimited.

                               CHAPTER X

THE kind of carpet that is variously called Kidderminster, Scotch, or
Ingrain, differs considerably from any of the carpets hitherto
described. Perhaps essentially, and in regard to texture, it is most
akin to hand-woven Tapestry, having a flat ribbed surface, without tufts
like Axminster or loops like Brussels.

[Illustration: FIG. 27

                A & B, Warp threads of different colours
                X & Y, Wefts of corresponding colours]

The original type of this carpet was the Ingrain or “Two-ply Super.” It
was made with a worsted warp traversed by a woollen weft, and was woven
in pieces 1 yd. wide. The worsted warp was coloured generally to match
the weft, for which two, three, or four shuttles were employed. The
design and colour effect depended upon the working of the weft, though
the incidental appearance on the surface of the warp threads, which were
harmonious or neutral in shade, did not disturb the pattern. There were
1,088 warp ends for a full super warp to the 36 in. width of fabric, two
to each reed, equal to 544, or a pitch of about 15 per inch; while the
beat-up contained 14 pairs of weft to the inch, that is, 14 above and 14
below. This fineness of pitch and beat-up admitted of delicate and
ambitious designing, and of clever and artistic effects in spite of the
limitation of colours. The writer has seen an American Ingrain carpet,
date about 1893, representing the landing of Columbus, which was
admirably drawn and shaded, and at a little distance might easily have
been mistaken for a hand-made Tapestry.

The Ingrain carpet was made in large quantities at one time in the 36
in. width in Scotland, the North of England, and in the United States,
but is more or less obsolete at the present time, having given way
before other types.

Developments have been in various directions, different manufacturers
having pursued different improvements in looms or in textures; but the
tendency of the development has been mainly in the direction of rather
heavier fabrics and wider looms. There are at least as many as twenty
different qualities in this branch of the carpet trade at the present
time, varying from each other in more or less important particulars. It
must suffice, however, to describe one or two of the fabrics,
illustrating variations of the Ingrain principle, the original type of
which has been indicated above.

Of recent years there has been a considerable demand for plain colours,
and these can be made either in the twill or the plain weave. In these
fabrics both warp and weft are dyed, with the object of obtaining a
solid effect. For a twill, four gears are required; but the plain or
“Oatmeal” surface can be obtained from two.

For two-colour effects, there are double warps, one of each colour, each
warp working with the weft of the same shade. A two-ply carpet is thus
formed in such a way that the design shows on each surface but with the
colours reversed.

Alternatively, a two-colour effect can be produced from wefts of two
shades only, working with a black or neutral chain, the pattern being
obtained entirely from the appearance on the surface, above the chain,
of the dyed weft.

[Illustration: FIG. 28

              Warps: A, Black; B, Red; C, White; D, Olive
              Wefts: A, Black; B, Red; C, White; D, Olive]

Where a more ambitious colour effect is desired, four warps, each of a
different colour, can be employed instead of two pairs. These, combined
in different ways with four wefts of various colours, obviously give
scope for a great variety of shade and design.

[Illustration: FIG. 29
A, Black stuffer warp; B, C, D, E, Coloured warps; W, X, Y, Z, Wefts of
  same colours as B, C, D, E]

The so-called Art Squares—not a very satisfactory name—are generally
made with two coloured warps, one cotton chain, and one jute stuffer
beam. The design is operated, as, of course, in many other kinds of
loom, by a Jacquard mechanism. The blanks or perforations in the pattern
cards cause some of the chain threads to be lifted up while others are
left down, the space between them forming the shed, through which the
shuttle passes, carrying the weft. Where the chain ends only are lifted,
the weft will show; where the stuffer is raised, it will cover the weft.
There may be three or four shuttles, each carrying a different coloured
weft, and one or other of the wefts will appear on the surface of the
carpet all along the shot, while the remainder will remain hidden.
Sometimes one shuttle carries a cotton weft.

In some weaves the black stuffer is occasionally brought to the surface
so as to obtain an additional effect, or, alternatively, a two-colour
chain warp is employed, without a stuffer.

[Illustration: FIG. 30
A, B, C, D, E, F, Coloured warps; U, V, W, X, Y, Z, Coloured wefts]

A more complicated variety of weave can be made with three sets of warp
threads, each of two colours, alternately, and six wefts correspondingly
coloured. This produces a fabric of three textures, which are fastened
to each other at the point of interchange. If, therefore, the design
should involve a large area of one colour or effect, this area is apt to
be loose and baggy, covering a pocket, which is not attached to the rest
of the fabric. This defect, however, can be overcome by utilising one of
the warps or wefts to act as a binding thread.

As has been intimated above, modern developments of Ingrain carpets have
tended in the direction of wide seamless carpets, in which respect the
fabric is on the same lines as other classes of carpeting. The bulk of
the trade now lies in the wide carpets, and comparatively few breadth
goods are woven. The modern Art Square loom is a fine piece of
mechanism, inspiring admiration with its comparatively small Jacquard,
its mass of cordage, and its ingenious co-ordinated motions.

Modern developments of fabrics have also been in the direction of
heavier goods and coarser pitches. Most qualities now being made contain
1,088 warp ends to the yard, in stuffer and chain combined. The yarn now
used is heavier, as it has been realised that a carpet needs weight,
both for the sake of wearing qualities, and in order that it may lie
well on the floor.

The preliminary and final processes in the manufacture of Ingrain
carpets are substantially the same, as regards winding, beaming,
finishing, etc., as for other fabrics; and these have been already
described. Mention may be made, however, of a warping mill for preparing
the warp beams for wide carpets. The yarns are wound from bobbins fixed
in a frame, in some convenient multiple of the number of ends required,
on to a large reel frame or warping mill, which revolves on either a
vertical or horizontal axis. This frame has a diameter of about 12 ft.,
so as to enable a long length of warp to be wound upon it. When the
required number of ends of the desired lengths have been wound, they are
unwound from the reel on to a beam, which can be fitted into the beaming
machine, and detached again, so as to go into the loom. The beaming
machine is adjustable to take different widths of beam.

Compared with some carpet fabrics, Ingrain must take a modest place. The
effects of design and colour of which it is capable are limited; and
though, in theory, the combination of three or four wefts, with as many
warps of similar or different colours, gives an almost indefinite
potential number of colour combinations, yet in practice these have
their limits. It will be generally conceded that Ingrain carpets are
most effective in simple and severe designs, using few colours. Nor can
it claim to be a luxurious carpet to tread upon. Even the heaviest
Ingrain lacks the resiliency, which the looped pile gives to even a
cheap Brussels or Tapestry. On the other hand, it can be very artistic
within its limitations; and it has the merit of being made in wide
seamless carpets, and of these carpets being clean in wear and easily

                               CHAPTER XI
                           DESIGN AND COLOUR

CARPET designing is a branch of Applied Art which makes exacting demands
upon its adherents, requiring as it does technical knowledge to an
exceptional extent. The average designer who ventures into this field,
however high his artistic ability may be, is not likely to achieve a
practical success, unless and until he has studied the particular
capacities and limitations of carpet fabrics. For this reason, the
public carpet designer is more or less of a specialist in his domain,
which is rarely invaded unless by such exceptional craftsmen as the late
Walter Crane or Voysey. Similarly, and because there are so many
varieties of carpet fabrics, requiring special knowledge and treatment,
all carpet manufacturers maintain private staffs of designers, whose
business it is to produce new patterns for each season and quality in
accordance with the commercial requirements. For the manufacturer has to
be governed to a great extent by the tastes and inclinations of his
customers, the carpet dealers, and cannot afford to be too enterprising
in initiating novelties, while the carpet dealer, in his turn is, as a
rule, rather a follower than a leader of the public taste. The
commercial standard has, therefore, been to some extent a hampering
influence upon the progress of carpet design towards perfection, but it
is certainly less so than in the past. For it has been modified of
recent years by a new tendency, which, however, is not one of unmixed
advantage to the manufacturer.

This tendency may be expressed as the intervention of the consumer.
Scarcity of materials during the war, and the consequent obligation of
carpet dealers to accept what they can get from manufacturers has,
temporarily at any rate, modified the influence of the individual buyer
of carpets upon carpet design and colour; but previous to the war it had
become a factor to be reckoned with. There were, and are, many
householders possessed of definite ideas upon arrangement of design,
combination of colour, and harmony of decoration; and these ideas often
germinate in suggestions or demands conveyed through the dealer to the
manufacturer for single carpets of special colouring or arrangement.
Often these suggestions prove to be more original than effective; but
often they lead to effects both artistic and saleable.

This critical and creative spirit on the part of the individual is not,
therefore, to be despised by the technical expert. It encourages
novelty, and tends towards the evolution of new ideas in design and
colour, and a liberation from an excessive dominance of the commercial

From whatever source, however, the carpet manufacturer obtains his ideas
for a design, it is by his expert staff, or by a professional carpet
designer, that the ideas must be reduced to a practical form. And the
technical preparation of designs for carpets is as full of difficulty as
it is of interest. As has been indicated, the various makes of carpet
differ from each other in many respects, including that of pitch, or
number of threads or rows per inch. They all, however, have this in
common, that, anatomically so to speak, as regards design, they are
reducible to squares of colour. For this reason, ruled or point paper is
always employed in the preparation of the design, and preferably paper
ruled so as to represent the full size of the woven fabric. The
designer, therefore, may not represent the curved outline of a leaf, for
instance, with a bold sweep of his brush, but must paint it carefully,
square by square, leaving actually an outline, which is more or less
jagged according to the coarseness or fineness of the pitch. Here, at
once we recognise a limitation which is apt to be irksome to the
untrained designer of carpets. And what applies to form applies also to
colour. There is no imperceptible graduation of shade to be achieved.
Each particular square has to be of one colour and no more. Again, the
designer must consider the number of colours he is allowed to employ, be
they two or a hundred; and must know whether they can be used anywhere
or only in restricted places in the pattern. Then there is the
consideration of the repeat, with the mysteries of the straight match,
reverse, drop and half drop; of the width of the fabric, body and
border; and of the various adjustments of design required for carpets of
different sizes, whether breadth goods, Chlidema squares, medallions, or
seamless. Last, there is the real artistic imagination that is required;
the art of seeing from one repeat how a complete carpet will look, of
estimating the difference in appearance between the flat colour on the
paper and the richness of the wool; of the variation in value of the
same shade in collocation with this or with that. From the above it will
be seen that the successful carpet designer has to be both craftsman and

The finished coloured design passes into the hands of the colourist,
who, whatever be the nature of the subsequent manufacturing process,
will have the responsibility of selecting the coloured yarns to go into
the fabric. These will normally, in the first instance, follow the main
lines of the shades of the design paper. Then the travellers’ samples
are made; and in some fabrics even, where pattern making is not
practicable, whole carpets or sets of carpets are produced. Some idea
can thus be obtained of the expenses to which carpet manufacturers are
put in the preparation of new designs and colourings (which, in pre-war
times, used to be done annually, and even more often) before a yard of
carpet is sold to recoup them.

The carpet designer and colourist must have strict regard for the
limitations of his medium, and in particular the limitations of pitch
and of colour. He must know how to employ in the most effective manner,
thirty shades or three, and what treatment is best for a floral design
or an Oriental, in a fine or a coarse pitch.

Of course, the same laws of colour harmonies and contrasts hold good for
the carpet colourist, as for the artist in any other branches of applied
art; but the carpet artist has his own particular problems, such as
those that have been indicated, and such as arise, for instance, from
the fact that carpets have wool surfaces and lie on the floor, and
therefore bear quite a different relation to the decoration of a room
than curtains or ceilings.

Carpet colourings, apart from plains, may be analysed into self-colour
effects, two-colour effects, and effects of three or more colours.

Self-colour or tone-on-tone effects adapt themselves more easily to a
scheme of decoration than carpets containing contrasted colours. It
seems to be a fact that the carpet is about the last thing to be thought
of in a scheme of decoration. It need not be discussed whether it ought
to be so or not. The walls, curtains, tiles, etc., are decided upon
before the question of the colour of the carpet arises. In such a case,
if a harmonious effect is to be ensured, there may be little choice left
in the matter; and a self-coloured carpet may be either the easiest way
out of the difficulty, or an artistic necessity. Certainly it is easier
to furnish to; and, if it does mean a certain want of ambition in the
decorative scheme, it is simple and satisfying.

Self-coloured carpets are also eminently suitable for small rooms,
especially bed-rooms, on the one hand, and for theatres and music halls
on the other, perhaps because one colour is more restful than several.

The number of shades used varies from two to five, according to the
simplicity or boldness of the design. More than five are certainly
undesirable, as it becomes impossible to get steps of shades without
approaching a white at the top and a black at the bottom; and, indeed,
some of the most effective self-colours are made in three shades only.

Two-tone effects of contrasted colours are not greatly used. They are
sometimes employed in small designs, with two colours only, or three
(one and a contrasting pair), but more often in bold designs of the
Empire, Adam, or Wedgwood style, with three or four shades of one
colour, upon a ground, or working against a pair of shades, of another;
but effective combinations on these lines are rare.

By far the largest proportion of carpets made are multi-coloured; and
nearly every style and fabric is adaptable to treatment in this way.

It is impossible to deal properly with the question of many-coloured
carpets except at great length; but, as a basis, it may be useful to
remember that there are only three primary colours, and that in every
multi-coloured carpet there should be represented some red, some yellow,
and some blue. That is not saying that these should be primaries. The
red may be a terra-cotta, the yellow a tan, the blue a slate. But if you
have forty shades in a carpet they can all (except, of course, black and
white) be scientifically analysed into reds, yellows, and blues, even if
some of them are secondaries or tertiaries. That is to say, that,
according to its collocation, a purple will be acting either as a blue
or as a red, a green either as a yellow or as a blue, and so on. It
follows, therefore, that in practice the carpet designer or colourist
who has a large range of colours at his disposal will arrange them in
sets: a tan with a cream, three blues, two reds and a ruby, and so on.

From this point of view, the manufacturer of Wilton is not so hopelessly
outclassed by the maker of Axminster and Chenille. With his five or six
colours, irrespective of planting, he can produce an effect which is
satisfying, and artistically perfect; though he may have to use one
shade, where two or three would give additional softness and richness.

Much, however, depends on the nature of the design; and it is obvious
that if it is desired to represent, say, a flower in a naturalistic
manner, the fabric that commands a large number of colours, combined
with a reasonably fine pitch, will come off best.

A dictum of that eminent art-critic, Owen Jones, may perhaps be
appropriately quoted at this point. In a lecture on Decorative Art he

“Carpets should be darker in tone and more broken in line than any
portion of a room, both because they present the largest mass of colour,
and because they serve as a background to the furniture placed upon
them. As a general rule, lighter carpets may be used in rooms thinly
furnished than the contrary, as we should otherwise have too
overpowering a mass of shade.”

All ornament, according to the source and principle of its design, may
be classified as either geometric, naturalistic, or conventional.
Ornament of the first class consists of apparently arbitrary
arrangements of circles, squares, spirals, or intersecting lines, or
repetitions of simple figures. It is the natural form of expression of
primitive art, as employed by savages or found on prehistoric remains;
but it has been developed in some style, as, for example, the Moorish,
into elaborate and beautiful patterns. Naturalistic ornament is that
which is closely based upon natural objects, especially flowers and
leaves, which are coloured as closely as the limitations of the material
permit. Conventional ornament, which may probably be regarded as the
highest class, is based upon observation of nature; but the natural
forms are not slavishly copied, but conventionalised, in the sense of
being selected and simplified, and adapted to the decorative purpose in

This classification holds good of carpet design, as for other domains of
applied art; and it may be interesting to trace the development of the
fashion of carpet decoration with this classification in view.

The geometric style is characteristic of the youthful days of British
carpets, and was at its zenith in Early Victorian times. Designs of this
class, rather elaborate than simple in drawing, were associated with
bright and strongly contrasted colours, while black grounds, at once the
most effective and the most difficult of all ground shades, were greatly
in vogue. It is interesting to note that of late we have returned to the
use of black, for many years an outlaw colour; though it is employed now
in a more artistic manner than it was sixty years ago.

With the later Victorian times is associated the development of the
naturalistic style in carpets as in other decorative fabrics; flowers,
singly or in bouquets, being depicted in bright colours as near to
Nature as the technical limitations permitted. This style may perhaps be
regarded as flourishing until gradually checked or sobered by
conventionalising influences, and notably that of William Morris, to
whom, indeed, it is not too much to attribute a revolution in the
decorative point of view. But this revolution was both slow and partial;
and the naturalistic style, founded, as it is no doubt, upon a love of
Nature innate in man, is too deeply rooted ever to lose its popularity

It is still with us. And why not? Flowers, though not meant to be
trodden under foot, are round about our feet; and they make a double
appeal to the carpet designer of intrinsic beauty, and of fitness for
ground decoration. A green ground carpet with pink roses, as near as may
be to life, represents no doubt something of the aspiration of the
dweller in town for the country; and who shall say that it is unworthy?

Owen Jones is again worth quoting in this connection, even if his
strictures seem excessively severe. He says—

“I will say no more on the floral style, but to express a regret that,
the more perfect the manufacturing process in carpets becomes, the more
do they (the carpets) appear to lend themselves to evil. The modest
Kidderminster carpet rarely goes wrong, because it cannot; it has to
deal with but two colours, and consequently much mischief is beyond its
reach. The Brussels carpet, which deals with five colours, is more
mischievous. The Tapestry carpet, where the colours are still more
numerous, are vicious in the extreme; whilst the recent invention of
printed carpets, with no bounds to its ambition, has become positively

But the supremacy of the naturalistic style long since passed away, and
gave place towards the end of last century to the conventional, There
was a very definite movement in this direction, arising perhaps in the
first instance from the Morris influence, but carried forward notably by
_The Studio_, the Arts and Crafts Exhibition, and by such artists as C.
F. A. Voysey, Walter Crane, G. C. Haité, Arthur Silver, and many others.

The conventional style is particularly suitable to carpets, in that it
possesses great decorative possibilities, and continually reminds the
occupant of a room of beautiful objects in Nature, without deliberately
challenging, as in the naturalistic style, comparisons, which can only
be disadvantageous. This style reached the summit of its popularity
about the first years of the century and has since declined, though it
is by no means extinct. Its decline may be regretted, if only for the
reason that it is one of the very few styles of design in carpets which
can claim to be distinctly British.

It left behind it a successor, however, which enjoyed a few years of
public favour. This is the tapestry or verdure style, wherein flowers,
fruit, and leaves are treated in a half-conventional manner, generally
on a well-covered ground. This really stands half-way between the
naturalistic and the conventional styles. It may be the joint offspring
of the two, a more exuberant Morris type, or a more chastened floral
chintz; while it seems not unlikely that it was introduced from Germany,
where it was certainly very popular at one time.

Then we passed into an era of reproductions. Examples of masterpieces of
decoration, and especially those of Oriental art, have always, and
rightly, been studied by carpet designers, and frequently reproduced by
carpet manufacturers in the past; but never to such an extent as during
the years preceding the war. The carpet trade of that time was dominated
by the cult of the antique Eastern carpet; and a very large proportion
of the production of British carpets was upon Persian and Indian styles,
while subsequently the Chinese came in for marked attention. From one
point of view, this was all to the good; for the birthplace of the
carpet was the Orient, and old Eastern carpets are classics, just as the
works of Homer, Vergil, Handel, or Velasquez are classics. Competition
among manufacturers was keen; and close and beautiful reproductions of
the best antique Oriental carpets were offered to the public,
distinguished in design, soft in colouring, and lending themselves
readily to harmonious schemes of decoration.

But from another aspect this era was less satisfactory. The masterpieces
of Persia and Asia Minor, so eagerly sought out, were not studied as
models, to be adapted to modern ideas and requirements, as inspirations,
or bases for new effects. They were apt to be slavishly copied, line for
line and shade for shade, as far as the limitations of the machine-made
fabric permitted. A manufacturer would boast: “This is an exact
reproduction of the famous carpet of so-and-so, made in the fourteenth
century”; not: “This is a beautiful carpet. Persian in feeling.” This
sort of thing did not make for progress, nor for originality and
initiative in the design, but led to a certain monotony and arrested
progress, though the beauty of the productions was incontestable.

The next stage in the development of carpet design was very interesting.
A slight, but inevitable reaction set in against the dominance of close
reproductions of Persian and other carpets of the Near East. Carpets in
the characteristic decorative styles of other countries, and of other
ages, were attempted. The Far East furnished the first departure from
the Persian domination; and the rich stores of Chinese and Japanese
ornament were drawn upon, with very satisfactory results. Then the
carpet manufacturer and designer struck out more boldly, and invaded any
land or period whose particular style of decoration could be converted
to the artistic purposes of the industry. Louis XIV, Louis XVI, Rococo,
Italian Renaissance, Empire, Adam, Georgian, Queen Anne, and other
periods were laid under contribution; and it was no less a clear demand
on the part of the dealer and the public (to whose share due credit must
be given) than a point of honour with the manufacturer, that every
design should be pure and true to its particular style. This involved
knowledge and study, and tended to restore the designer and colourist to
his proper position as a creative artist from that of a mere copyist, to
which he had been in some danger of sinking.

The Futurist, Cubist, Vorticist movement, whatever its effect has been
in the world of Fine Art, has had but little influence upon carpet
design and colour. But perhaps this is yet to come.

There has been one more stage in the development of carpet design, which
may be regarded as a part of, but slightly different from, the
period-study stage. This may be called the Archaeological. The art of
Greece and Rome, apart from the superb acanthus scroll, has left little
that lent itself to carpet decoration; but older civilisations have been
drawn upon; and the finely conventionalised ornament of Ancient Egypt,
Chaldea, and Assyria, has been utilised in harmonious and dignified
carpets. Nor is this tendency likely to be arrested, as long as fresh
fields can be found that will repay exploration.

All this is extremely healthy and stimulating for the industry. It
involves study and effort and originality; and it makes for real
progress. The consumer of carpets has been growing more discriminating,
just as he has been growing more eclectic. His taste is varied: he may
buy a Hamadan design or a Celtic; but he will want it pure in style, and
well coloured. He is interested in a little archaeology; but he likes a
sound design better than archaeology, and finds a good colouring more
important still.

What developments the future holds in store it is impossible to say. It
may be that we shall have a reaction from this, eclecticism, this
cosmopolitanism of taste, to a more insular vogue; that we shall even
evolve a Twentieth Century British style in carpets as characteristic as
the Egyptian or the Renaissance.

Meanwhile, some indication has been given of the steps by which the
carpet trade has reached the high and varied standard of excellence in
design and colour which it enjoys to-day.

                              CHAPTER XII

THE British carpet manufacturing trade cannot claim to compare in size
with the larger industries of the country; but the figures which follow
will give some measure of its extent. It should be premised that, owing
to the disturbance of the industry caused by war conditions, it is
necessary to go back to 1913 to obtain figures which can be regarded as
approximately normal.

There are forty-five firms engaged in the manufacture of carpets, of
whom eleven are located in Scotland, nine in the North of England,
eighteen in Kidderminster and district, and seven in other parts of the
country. Kidderminster is thus, both in the number of manufacturers, and
in its productive capacity, the most important centre of the trade.

There are about 4,500 looms of various kinds and widths in the whole
trade, of which number Brussels and Wilton looms, Chenille, and Tapestry
each contribute about 25 per cent., Axminster 17½ per cent., and
Ingrain, hand-tufted, and sundry looms the balance.

The total number of employees in the trade before the war was 36,000, of
which rather more than one-quarter were male. During the war the total
was reduced to about 50 per cent.

The average annual consumption of wool may be taken as about 8,000 tons;
which, estimating a fleece as about 6lb. in weight, represents the wool
produced yearly by 3,000,000 sheep.

The consumption of jute was from 15,000 to 20,000 tons; of cotton about
13,000 tons; of linen 8,000 to 10,000 tons; and of coal about 100,000
tons per annum.

The export trade is an important branch, as will be seen from the
following tables for 1913 and 1918, printed here by the courtesy of the
_Kidderminster Shuttle_—

                             CARPET EXPORTS

       (In the following details of Carpets, Rugs are included.)

                  _Quantities for Twelve Months ended_—
                            _December, 1912._ _December, 1913._
       Germany                        122,400            91,200
       Netherlands                    339,100           402,300
       Belgium                         68,900            55,200
       France                          71,900            63,700
       Spain and Canaries              71,300            47,300
       United States                  142,000           137,300
       Chili                          419,400           338,700
       Argentine Republic             391,500           409,000
       Australia                    1,704,700         1,821,300
       New Zealand                    555,400           521,500
       Canada                       2,730,300         2,569,300
       Other Countries              2,194,900         2,146,100
                                         ————              ————
       Total Square Yards           8,811,800         8,602,900

                             CARPET EXPORTS

                    _Value for Twelve Months ended_—
                            _December, 1912._ _December, 1913._
                                       £                 £
       Germany                         37,982            27,853
       Netherlands                     60,161            72,544
       Belgium                         11,009             9,858
       France                          18,455            17,757
       Spain and Canaries              16,569             8,193
       United States                   55,634            60,688
       Chili                           54,809            50,938
       Argentine Republic              72,879            72,027
       Australia                      296,664           334,137
       New Zealand                     89,972            91,110
       Canada                         450,119           449,101
       Other Countries                341,277           342,718
                                        —————             —————
       TOTAL                       £1,505,530        £1,536,924

                             CARPET EXPORTS

                  _Quantities for Twelve Months ended_—
                            _December, 1917._ _December, 1918._
       Netherlands                    280,300             1,000
       France                         113,200           183,100
       Spain and Canaries              54,600            32,300
       United States of               298,900            89,900
       Chile                          114,100           152,200
       Argentine Republic             228,000           218,900
       Australia                      851,800           852,500
       New Zealand                    222,100            97,700
       Canada                         886,900           239,800
       Other Countries              1,482,900         1,151,000
                                        —————             —————
       Total Square Yards           4,532,800         3,018,400

                             CARPET EXPORTS

                    _Value for Twelve Months ended_—
                            _December, 1917._ _December, 1918._
                                       £                 £
       Netherlands                     88,307               502
       France                          55,368           120,982
       Spain and Canaries              17,008            14,803
       United States of               190,572            71,790
       Chile                           30,076            63,512
       Argentine Republic              71,915            95,237
       Australia                      237,634           330,287
       New Zealand                     58,937            36,260
       Canada                         206,658            70,120
       Other Countries                418,432           470,898
                                        —————             —————
       TOTAL                       £1,374,907        £1,274,391

                             CARPET IMPORTS

                                    _Square_   _Value._
                                     _Yds._      _£_
              Imports of Carpets    1,854,599    687,026
                and Carpet Rugs,
              Imports of Carpets    1,965,000    698,371
                and Carpet Rugs,

                              CHAPTER XIII
                         EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYED

CARPET manufacture, as already explained in the foregoing pages,
comprises a good many different processes and fabrics; and it can be
readily understood that the making of Wilton carpets, for instance, may
require not only a different plant and staff from those needed for
Ingrain or Axminster, but even a different manufacturing and selling
policy. From these and other considerations it comes about that, in
practice, carpet manufacturers are inclined to specialise in one fabric,
and to restrict themselves to making two or three, though this is not to
be regarded as by any means an invariable rule. As a result, the
interest in any one fabric will be found to be confined to a limited
number of manufacturers, and not to be extended over the whole trade;
while nearly all manufacturers are interested in more than one fabric.

In default of any general association of carpet manufacturers, the
tendency in the past has been for the whole or the large majority of
manufacturers interested in a fabric to form an Association for the
control of qualities and prices in that fabric only. Thus, A, B, C, and
D make Axminster carpets and form an Axminster Association; B, C, D, and
E are members of a Brussels and Wilton Association; A, C, E, and F of a
Tapestry Association, and so on.

As a matter of fact, there have been in existence for a good many years
a Brussels and Wilton Carpet Manufacturers’ Association, working in
close co-operation with an Axminster Association, and a Victorian
(Chenille) Association; while the makers of Tapestry carpets have an
organisation of their own. Of recent years, another body was added, the
Carpet Manufacturers’ Federation, whose special function was the control
of the lower qualities of Brussels and Wilton, which the existing
Brussels and Wilton Association did not claim to regulate.

The organisations enumerated comprise the large majority of the makers
of the various carpet fabrics concerned; and they have controlled the
prices and terms obtaining in the trade on the whole in a very effective
manner, though subject always to the somewhat disturbing influence of
the manufacturers remaining outside the Associations. Of these, however,
the greater number have habitually followed the standard of prices and
selling conditions set by the Associations.

On the whole, then, these trade organisations have done good work.
Certainly they cannot be accused of greediness in advancing prices too
quickly or too much, or of undue stringency in conditions of sale. The
value and amount of control exercised by these Associations have been
partly conditioned by their mutual relations. Intercommunication between
the different bodies and joint meetings has already contributed to the
solution of some difficulties common to the trade; but more might be
done in this direction. No doubt an ideal organisation would be an
Association of the whole industry, with sections for each branch of it.

The work of the Associations has included the standardisation of a
certain number of qualities in various fabrics; and, indeed, without
such standardisation the fixing of prices in a satisfactory manner is
almost an impossibility. In the interests of all concerned, including,
it may be confidently asserted, both the carpet dealer and the ultimate
consumer, this standardisation, coupled with a reduction in the number
of qualities produced, might very well be extended. The trade has been
unnecessarily complicated in the past by the existence of qualities
differing from each other by a small percentage of value, and puzzling
to the buyer. Carpet manufacturers are themselves partly to blame for
this multiplication of fabrics, the outcome of an extravagant
competition, involving needless expense in production, which fell, of
course, ultimately upon the consumer. War conditions have made a clean
sweep of many of them: it is to be hoped that they will not recur.

The carpet industry was from the first a great sufferer from the state
of affairs brought about by the declaration of war. In the early days,
cancels and a suspension of orders necessitated a recourse to short
time; while later, as a so-called “Luxury Trade,” it did not seem likely
to meet with much consideration at the hands of the authorities in
respect of protection given to its personnel, or of the provision of
adequate raw materials. These difficulties brought carpet manufacturers
closer together than before; and committees representing the whole trade
were formed for the protection of its interests in the above

Ultimately, when the question of the rationing of wool and other raw
materials necessary to the industry became paramount, a Committee of the
trade was formed, entitled the Carpet Trade Rationing Committee. This
Committee was recognised by the War Office, and responsible directly to
the Wool Control Board. Since June, 1917, it was occupied with the
allocation of wool to spinners, and of worsted and woollen yarns, and
subsequently jute, to carpet manufacturers. The distribution, of course,
depended upon the amount allotted to the carpet trade by the Wool
Control Board, and had to be made with due regard to the needs of carpet
manufacturers, their pre-war consumption, their stocks, etc. It was an
arduous and invidious task; and the fact that it was carried through
with scarcely a complaint, and that, in spite of severe shortage of
material at times, no firm was ever obliged to shut down, reflects great
credit on all concerned.

Labour was represented on this Committee by one member from each branch
of the Carpet Trade Unions, in Scotland, the North of England, and

The publication of the Whitley Report brought general recognition that
effective co-operation of employers and employed was a necessity for the
future prosperity of the carpet industry, no less than for other trades,
and that this could best be brought about by an organisation as fully
representative of the employers as the Affiliation of Carpet Trade
Unions was of the employees.

At the beginning of 1918 a scheme was put forward by the late Sir
Charles Bine Renshaw for the formation of a British Carpet
Manufacturers’ Association for the whole trade, composed of delegates
from three District Associations, representing the Scottish, North of
England, and Kidderminster Area Carpet Manufacturers respectively. The
object of these Associations was the protection of the general interests
of the trade, and in particular the settlement of questions of wages and
employment in co-operation with accredited representatives of Carpet
Trade Unions. The Scottish Manufacturers were the first to form their
District Association, but were followed in due course by those of the
other two areas.

The Trade Unions of the carpet industry were naturally local in origin.
The Midland branch was founded in 1866, under the title “The
Kidderminster and Stourport United Brussels Power Loom Carpet Weavers’
Friendly Society.” In 1868, the name was altered to “The Power Loom
Carpet Weavers’ Mutual Defence and Provident Association,” though
generally spoken of as the Carpet Weavers’ Association; and this title
held good until 1917, when the textile workers, both male and female,
were admitted to membership, and the name was finally altered to “The
Power Loom Carpet Weavers’ and Textile Workers’ Association.”

The original headquarters of the Society was the Vine Inn, Horsefair;
but in 1870 a room was rented from the Workmen’s Club, at 28 Church
Street, where the business was carried on up to 1887. In this year the
Association was transferred to 105 Mill Street, where it has remained
until its recent move next door, to No. 106.

Although the original _raison d’être_ of the organisation was that of a
Trade Defence Association, it very soon took up what is known as
Friendly Society work; for as early as 1867 accident and funeral
benefits were being paid; sick pay was commenced in 1868; and in 1877 it
was decided to use funds for superannuation claims. It is interesting to
record that at the beginning of 1919 there were 52 members on the
superannuation list, including some of the men who helped to found the
Association, such as Noah Cooke (85), Thomas Thatcher (95), B. Barber,
and several others now well advanced in years.

The Association has gradually extended the scope of its benefits to
members until we find that, for the year ending December, 1917, out of
an income of £1,717 0s. 8d. no less than £1,391 19s. 10d. was disbursed
in Friendly Society benefits, subscriptions, and donations.

The following figures, showing the total amounts paid out for benefits
to the sick and disabled, for superannuation, and for funerals, will
convey some idea of the great extent of the activity of the Society in
this direction since its formation—

                                       £     s.  d.
                    Sick Pay         26,638  18   1
                    Superannuation   17,223   0   9
                    Funerals          8,558  17   2

In addition to these amounts, various sums have been applied to other
useful purposes. For instance, in the year 1897, £221 was spent in
assisting members who were unemployed, and in succeeding years several
smaller amounts have been spent in the same way. Over £130 was
distributed in 1906 to members who wished to emigrate, and later about
£100 for the same purpose.

Thanks to the good relations which have subsisted between employers and
employed, and which it is to be hoped will continue, the amount spent in
trade disputes has been very small.

During the most flourishing days of the Brussels and Wilton trade, the
actual number of members on the books reached 1,600. This gradually fell
to 800, including superannuated members, in the early part of 1917. In
that year, however, the rules were altered to admit the textile workers
to membership; and the number on the books at the beginning of 1919 was
rather over 3,000.

The Association has a long and honourable record to look back upon. It
has played a useful part in the industrial life of the community, it has
treated its members well, and has earned the respect of the
manufacturers. No doubt, under the new conditions, it will do no less
well in the future.

The Northern Counties Carpet Trades Association was established in 1892
by a few enthusiasts at Halifax, under the title of “The Halifax
Brussels Carpet Weavers’ Association.” Membership was confined to those
working as Jacquard weavers until June, 1904, when the name was changed
to “The Northern Counties Power Loom Weavers’ Association,” making it
possible to accept as members all power-loom weavers. A further
alteration was made in the title and constitution in 1913, when the
Association was registered under its present name, since when it has
accepted as members any person engaged in the industry. The Association
has branches at Halifax, Sowerby Bridge, Heckmondwike, Rochdale, and
Manchester, with a membership of approximately 1,200. Up to the end of
1918 the Association has disbursed in provident benefits the following

                                        £    s.  d.
                   Death                236   0   0
                   Playing for Work   3,887  17   3
                   Out of Work          456  18   2
                   Grants               246   9   0
                   Emigration Grants    260  18   4
                   Sick Pay             266   0   3

Payment of sick pay was discontinued when the National Health Insurance
Act came into force.

Previous to 1874, the interests of the workers in the carpet trade in
Scotland were vested in a more or less irregular form of a Trade Union,
whose activities were mainly directed by the workers in Glasgow; but
with the development of the Trade Union movement in the seventies,
several efforts were made by a few enthusiasts to form a regular
society. After many futile attempts in this direction, a conference was
ultimately held in the St. Mungo Hotel, Glasgow, on 7th March, 1874,
when the following attended as representatives of their respective

BONNYRIGG.—Mr. John Craig.

GLASGOW.—Messrs. John Mitchell, Robert Logan, Thomas Ramsay.

GLENPATRICK (Elderslie).—Messrs. John Miller, James McLellan.

PAISLEY.—Messrs. James McNaughton, William Findlay.

ROSLIN (Mid-Lothian).—Mr. James Armour.

KILMARNOCK.—Mr. James Young.

Mr. William Findlay, of Paisley, was called to preside over the
conference; and Mr. Thomas Ramsay, of Glasgow, was appointed Secretary.
After the various representatives had expressed their opinions for and
against the formation of a Union on progressive lines, it was ultimately
agreed that a Protective and Provident Union be formed, and that members
be given the option of joining either for Trade Protection and Sick and
Funeral Benefit, or for Trade Protection only, by paying the weekly
contribution of 4d. or 2d. per week respectively. It was further decided
at this conference that the first Executive Committee be composed of six
members from Glasgow, and one each from Paisley and Glenpatrick. Thus we
have the origin of the present “Scotch Power Looms Carpet Trade
Protective and Provident Association.”

According to the constitution of the Association as it then existed, the
Executive Committee had the power to appoint its own officials; and on
9th March, 1874, Mr. Robert Logan and Mr. Thomas Ramsay, both of the
Glasgow Branch, were elected President and Secretary respectively.

At a meeting held on 19th April, 1874, the Secretary intimated that the
organisation was proceeding very satisfactorily. Up to this date, 102
members had joined for the full benefits and 83 for trade benefits;
Bonnyrigg being the only branch which had not responded to the call for

In February, 1875, a joint conference with the English workers was held
in Halifax, for the dual purpose of soliciting assistance for the
Glenpatrick workers, who were then on strike, and with a view to a
thorough organisation of the whole of the workers in the trade. Some
good financial assistance was obtained, but the organisation was not as
successful as might have been expected, although Kidderminster placed
their experience at the disposal of all the workers, The next few years
were taken up in purely local affairs; and in February, 1881, the
question of an uniform price list for Tapestry weaving and tying-in was
discussed; and a draft scheme was submitted to a meeting of delegates.
However, as complete agreement among the workers could not be obtained,
the efforts in this direction did not materialise.

From 1894 onwards, the Association realised the necessity of a more
powerful organisation and sufficient funds to support the members; and
strong recommendations were repeatedly put forward by the Executive for
increased contributions; but owing to apparent apathy on the part of
members, these recommendations were not taken up with the zeal necessary
for their success.

At the Annual Delegates’ Meeting held in May, 1895, the question of
replenishing the funds of the Association, which had been greatly
depleted, was discussed; and it was ultimately decided to raise the
contributions from 4d. to 6d. per week. As a result of this increase,
two of the branches in the East of Scotland seceded.

In July, 1895, the question of amalgamating with the Kidderminster
Association was again discussed; but again no definite steps were taken.

In 1897 an effort was made by the East shops (Bonnyrigg, Eskbank, and
Roslin) to form a local union. This was partially established, but in
June, 1904, a lock-out took place in the district on the question of
shift working; and the local union, not being able to deal with the
matter, appealed to the Executive of this Association for assistance,
which was granted. The Executive opened negotiations with the firms
concerned, and after a few weeks duration, a satisfactory agreement was
arrived at, with the result that the local union was dissolved, and the
members agreed to join the original Association. In March, 1895, the
membership of the Association was returned at 397.

A special conference was held in Glasgow on 30th September, 1905, with
the object of endeavouring to get the employers to return to the rates
for tying beams which were reduced in 1886. A scheme was ultimately
drawn up and submitted to the employers in 1906; but negotiations proved

In 1905, the Glenpatrick branch, which had seceded in 1875 after their
unsuccessful strike, rejoined the Association, some 72 weavers becoming
members. In March, 1906, the membership of the Association was returned
at 462.

In May, 1906, a dispute arose in the Charleston (Paisley) branch on the
question of the weaving rate for a new fabric, which lasted about four

In 1907 the Association became affiliated to the General Federation of
Trade Unions with a view to strengthening the reserve funds of the

In 1907 and 1908, a further effort was made to bring about an
affiliation of the English and Scotch Carpet Trade Unions; and on this
occasion a constitution was drawn up, but at the last moment, when all
seemed shaping well for the formation of a Federation, the matter again

In 1911, after prolonged negotiations with the Tapestry manufacturers, a
new scheme for payment for weaving was drawn up on a proportionate
basis, which was considered, at least so far as Scotland was concerned,
to be a great step towards uniformity of rates. The workers’ interests
in the drawing up of this scheme were very capably handled by Messrs.
Rough, Robertson, and Howie. After the establishment of this scheme,
things went on smoothly until August, 1914, when the outbreak of war put
the organisation, in common with many others, into a condition of
suspense. The General Secretary was called to the Colours; and a large
proportion of the younger members answered the call to arms. Thanks,
however, to careful and judicious handling, the Association ultimately
overcame all difficulties; and not only was the Association preserved,
but that which was almost despaired of, and which was the dream of the
pioneers of the movement, was also achieved: namely, the complete
organisation of all carpet workers in the Brussels, Wilton, and Tapestry
carpet trade of Scotland. By the end of 1918, the membership of the
Association, in spite of the great depletion in the ranks of the workers
caused by the war, had increased to 1,200.

Since 1914 the Executive was successful in obtaining the adoption of a
new scheme for payment for tying-in beams, replacing the one which was
abolished in 1886, and giving satisfaction to all workers in the
Tapestry trade.

The progress and development of the Scotch Association during the past
few years, and the successful amalgamation with the English
Associations, has been largely due to the tact and energy of the
President, Mr. Thomas Lindsay, of Paisley.

The Kidderminster, Northern Counties, and Scottish Associations were
amalgamated in November, 1917, under the title of “The National
Affiliation of Carpet Trade Unions.” The objects of the affiliation were
the maintenance of uniform rates, the regulation of the supply of hands
and hours of work, and generally the regulation of the relations of
employers and employed in the trade.

The constitution is simple, the control of the Affiliation being vested
in the hands of an Affiliation Board, composed of three representatives
from each Association. The Board appoints a President, Secretary, and
Treasurer, each Association being entitled to one official.

During the spring and early summer of 1919 negotiations had been
proceeding between the Employers, the Trade Unions’ representatives, and
the Ministry of Labour for the formation of a Joint Industrial Council
for the Carpet Trade; and the inaugural meeting of this body was held
under the auspices of Mr. John Hodge, M.P., on 18th July. It was
composed as follows—

                            EMPLOYERS’ SIDE

              Kidderminster and District
                Manufacturers’ Association              5
              Northern Counties’ Manufacturers’
                Association                             5
              Scottish Manufacturers’ Association       4

                            EMPLOYEES’ SIDE

              National Affiliation of Carpet Trade
                Unions                                 10
              General Union of Textile Workers          2
              The Amalgamated Society of Gas,
                Municipal, and General Workers          1
              Workers’ Union                            1

Mr. Herbert Smith, of Kidderminster (Employers), was elected Chairman,
and Mr. Thomas Lindsay, of Paisley (Employees), Vice-Chairman.

                              CHAPTER XIV

IT may be of interest to consider briefly the prospects of the industry.

The Carpet Trade is in several respects a peculiar one. Its principal
raw materials, wool, cotton, and jute, are of such outstanding
importance to more essential industries, that their supply and their
price are conditioned by the latter; so that the Carpet Trade has to
accommodate itself to a market which is not controlled to any extent by
its own needs. It is not a large industry; but it employs a number of
operatives in whom a high degree of technical skill is required in a
great variety of branches; and it utilises a considerable quantity of
ingenious machinery of many kinds. It is, strictly speaking, a luxury
trade. That is to say, it is obvious that it is theoretically more
possible to exist in a house with no carpets, than in a house, say, with
no tables and chairs, while a floor covering is perhaps less of a
necessity than wall-paper or curtains. Of course, as a matter of fact,
the line is not drawn sharply between carpets and other articles of
furnishing. A person who is furnishing a house, if he can afford
curtains can probably afford carpets, though he may, indeed, find his
mind divided between his desire to provide his home with a comfort that
is almost a necessity, and his hesitation to indulge himself in a
comfort that may be regarded as a luxury. Where the practical test of
the trade being a luxury trade comes, is in the matter of renewals. It
is here that the Carpet Industry is sensitive to the periodical changes
in commercial prosperity, which seem to be inherent in modern
civilisation. Generally speaking, when trade is bad the Carpet Industry
is the first to suffer; and when there is a recovery it is some time
before it feels the benefit. It seems that, with the first pinch of
adversity, the carpet consumer decides upon a policy of economy that
excludes the purchase of carpets, whatever else may or may not be

Hence arises a period of depression in the carpet trade, with a decrease
of profitable production, and consequent unemployment; and this in the
future, in the face of higher wages and more keenly realised
responsibilities towards employees, will certainly be an even more
serious matter than it has been in the past.

The matter of the import of foreign goods has been mentioned in the
chapter on Hand-made Carpets; and all that was said therein as regards
the unrestricted entrance into the British market of Eastern and
Continental productions applies to some extent to their competition with
all makes and grades of carpet. The home market for carpets is a large
one normally, but it is not capable of indefinite expansion; the
consumption has its limits; and if the market is invaded by foreign
goods, the consumption and the price of the domestic product will
quickly fall with unpleasant if not disastrous results upon the

The dangers indicated axe real ones, serious alike for Capital and
Labour, who, more than ever in the past, will have to stand or fall
together; and they deserve consideration, as regards the way in which
they may best be met.

As previously indicated, various Associations exist in the Carpet Trade;
but it may be admitted that there is scope for better organisation as
regards consideration of matters that affect the Industry as a whole. If
it is to be on a firm foundation, there should be a more complete
recognition of the fact that the interests of all units of the trade are
identical. Further, in any new scheme of combination the position of
Labour will have to be recognised, and its co-operation cordially
welcomed. Some such scheme as is outlined in the well-known Whitley
Report, though it is by no means free from difficulties, may
materialise, possibly in a modified form. The principle at any rate is a
good one; and carpet manufacturers have had no cause to complain of
their relations with their employees (nor _vice versâ_) in the past, nor
any cause for doubting a reasonable attitude on the part of Trade Unions
in the future. No reasonable employers in the Carpet Trade will begrudge
their employees a fair remuneration for their work, nor improved
conditions of working. Nor, on the other hand, will they be sorry to
admit Trade Union representatives to a share in dealing with general
trade problems. It seems manifestly right, for instance, that men no
less than masters should consider how the Industry is affected by tariff
questions, or how high wages or reduced working hours may be made
compatible with the maintenance of the export trade.

Apart from this, it remains to be seen whether the manufacturers
themselves can devise any satisfactory scheme for protecting their own
interests and those of the Industry generally. All are pretty well
agreed as to the desirability of closer and more efficient combination:
differences of opinion exist as to the best methods by which this may be


Art squares, 88

Aubusson, 4, 22
Axminster, 5
—— carpeting, 49
—— qualities, 50-52
——, seamless, 61
——, setting, 54
—— weaving process, 54, 55
—— weft motion, 58

Beauvais, 4, 22
Brussels carpeting, 29
——, chain warp, 31
——, finishing, 38
——, pressing, 38
—— qualities, 35, 36
——, sprouting, 37
——, stuffer warp, 31
——, weaving process, 32
——, winding, 30
——, worsted, 29

Cairo squares, 38
Carlisle, 23
Carpets, antiquity of, 1
——, artificial ageing of, 26
——, doctoring of, 25
——, earliest makers of, 24
——, European and Asiatic, 26
——, export of, 105, 106
——, import of, 106
——, introduction into England, 3
——, sewing of, 42
Carpet trade associations, 107
—— ——, commercial conditions of, 119
—— ——, District Association, 110
—— ——, distribution of, 104
Carpet Trade Industrial Council, 118
—— —— Rationing Committee, 109
Chenille, 63
——, fur cutting, 65
——, qualities, 67
——, setting, 66
——, weft weaving, 64
Chlidema squares, 38
Colour, 92
Competition, foreign, 27, 120
Cotton, 11
Creel bobbin, 30

Design, 92
Distribution of carpet industry, 104
Donegal, 23
Drying yarns, 19
Dyeing, 13
—— yarns, 14
—— machines, 15, 16
—— process, 18
Dyes of Oriental carpets, 25
Dyestuffs, 18, 25
Dye vats, 14

Eclecticism in design, 102
Egyptian loom, 1
Employees, number of, 104
Employers and employed, 107
Export carpet trade, 105, 106

Fine Wiltons, 45
Flax warp, 23
—— yarn, 11
Foreign competition, 27, 120

Hakluyt, 3
Halifax, 7
Hand-made carpets, 20
Henry IV, 4
—— VIII, 4

Imperial Axminster, 50
Ingrain carpeting, 86
—— qualities, 87

Jacquard, 31
—— Axminster, 59
Jute yarn, 10

Kidderminster, 5, 104
—— carpeting, 86
—— Carpet Weavers’ Association, 100
Kilmarnock, 6
Knots, Turkish and Persian, 21

Linen yarn, 11
Louis XIV, 4

Maffersdorf, 23
Materials, 9
——, consumption of, 104
Medallion squares, 42
Mohair, 10
Morris, influence of, 99

National Affiliation, 117
Northern Counties Association, 112

Ornament, classes of, 97
Owen Jones, 97, 99

Paper yarn, 11
Plain Wilton, 47
Planting, 34

Qualities, standardisation of, 108

Ramie yarn, 11
Reproduction, 100

Saxony Wilton, 46
Scotch carpeting, 86
Scouring of yarns, 13
Seamless Axminster, 61
Self colours, 95
Silk, 9
Starching, 34
Statistics, 104

Tapestry, 7, 71
——, printing, 74
——, scaleboard, 78
——, setting, 81
——, steaming, 81
——, stripping, 80
——, velvet, 84
——, weaving, 83
Trade unions, 110
Two-colour effect, 96

Washing of carpets, 26
Whytock, 6, 71
Wilton, 4, 5, 23
Wilton carpeting, 44
——, plains, 47
——, qualities, 45
——, shading of, 47
Wool, character and consumption of, 9, 10
——, characteristics of, 17
Woollen Wiltons, 46

Yarn drying, 19
—— scouring, 13

                 *        *        *        *        *

       _Printed by Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, Ltd., Bath, England_

                           BRINTONS LIMITED

     _Tel. Address: Brintons, Kidderminster.      Telephone No. 5_

                      WORSTED AND WOOLLEN SPINNERS
                      CARPET AND RUG MANUFACTURERS


                   _Brussels_, _Wilton_, _Axminster_,
                     _Chenille_, and _Hand Tufted_
                      . . . . _Carpeting_ . . . .


                   _Cotton_, _Jute_, _Hemp_, _Linen_
                     . . _and Worsted Webbing_ . .


       London     10 Ivy Lane, Newgate St., E.C.    Tel. 7529 Cent.
       Manchester 53 Portland Street                Tel. 4739 City
       Glasgow    50 Wellington Street              Tel. 7314 City

  _Tel. Addresses_: Brintons, London; Brintons, Manchester; Brintons,

                      Robert Hall & Sons Bury Ltd.
                            Bury, Lancashire

                        Makers of all classes of
                 Looms, Preparing & Finishing Machinery

    ¶ Complete Plants of Machinery for Brussels and Wilton Carpets,
    Squares, etc., Tapestry and Velvet Carpets, Carriage Linings,
    Rugs, Slipper Tops, Cocoa Matting and Mats, Royal Axminster and
    Chenille Axminster Carpets, Turkey Carpets, Scotch and
    Kidderminster Carpets, etc.,

                        in all widths, including

    Winding, Warping, Beaming, Sizing Printing, Setting, Starching,
    Drying and Steaming, Rolling and Shearing or Cropping Machines

                 *        *        *        *        *

                    _Special Hand Looms for Carpets_

                 *        *        *        *        *

                 Makers of the Noted Moxon Carpet Loom

                 *        *        *        *        *

  Also Preparing, Weaving and Finishing Machinery for Cotton, Woollen,
                     Linen, Jute, Ramie, Silk, etc.

               _Common Commodities and Industries Series_
Each book in crown 8vo, cloth, with many illustrations, charts, etc. 2s.
                               6d. net.

Tea: From Grower to Consumer. By A. Ibbetson.

Coffee: From Grower to Consumer. By B. B. Keable.

Sugar: Cane and Beet. By Geo. Martineau, C.B.

Cotton: From the Raw Material to the Finished Product. By R. J. Peake.

Rubber: Production and Utilisation of the Raw Product. By C. Beadle and
  H. P. Stevens, M.A., Ph.D., F.I.C.

Iron and Steel: Their Production and Manufacture. By C. Hood.

Silk: Its Production and Manufacture. By Luther Hooper.

Tobacco: From Grower to Smoker. By A. E. Tanner.

Wool: From the Raw Material to the Finished Product. By J. A. Hunter.

Coal: Its Origin, Method of Working, and Preparation for the Market. By
  Francis H. Wilson, M.Inst. M.E.

Linen: From the Field to the Finished Product. By Alfred S. Moore.

Timber: From the Forest to its Use in Commerce. By William Bullock.

Clays and Clay Products. By A. B. Searle.

Leather: From the Raw Material to the Finished Product. By K. J. Adcock.

Oils: Animal, Vegetable, Essential, and Mineral. By C. Ainsworth
  Mitchell, B.A., F.I.C.

Wheat and its Products. By A. Millar.

Copper: From the Ore to the Metal. By H. K. Picard, Assoc. Royal School
  of Mines, Mem. Inst, of Min. and Met.

Paper: Its History, Sources, and Production. By H. A. Maddox.

Glass and Glass Manufacture. By Percival Marson.

Soap: Its Composition, Manufacture, and Properties. By William H.

The Motor Industry. By Horace Wyatt, B.A.

The Boot and Shoe Industry. By J. S. Harding.

Gums and Resins. By Ernest J. Parry.

Furniture. By H. E. Binstead.

                    _Other Volumes in preparation._

                 *        *        *        *        *

Transcriber’s Notes:

Some illustrations have been moved slightly to keep paragraphs intact.
Archaic spellings and hyphenation have been retained. A few obvious
typesetting errors have been corrected without note. The advertisements
and publisher's catalogue have been moved from the front of the book to
the end of the book.

[End of _Carpets_, by R. S. Brinton]

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