A Unique Time in the History and Economy of Wool Area Rugs

We are living in an era where Oil Prices are driving the condition of our Economy. Overall, this seems to have a negative impact on the prices of every home decor item that we purchase. Flooring prices have nearly doubled in the past two years ("talk about sticker shock"). However, upon examination we find that there are some positive attributes that can only exist at this moment in History and in this present Economy.

    Area Rugs have had a special place in the history of mankind, and the economy of Home Decor. The Medo-Persian Empire is given much credit for ancient trade in area rugs. We have physical evidence of intricate hand-made area rugs from the 1st century BC. Although we perceive that rugs, in the form of fleeces and hand-made rugs of all types of fibers would have been produced and traded before this empire came to power, it was largely their influence that made it a commodity that was traded throughout the known world at that time in history. It would be hard to imagine any caravan traveling from one city to another that would not have been laden with "exotic" area rugs for their high-end clients. That’s right, most area rugs in that era would only be affordable to the affluent members of society. In fact, area rugs were not become affordable to the average household until the 19th century AD. That is when machine production, and less expensive fibers would become used in the manufacturing processes of area rugs, eventually making them a more affordable home decor product.

    The economy of area rugs grew by leaps and bounds as machine-made processes reached a point where an imitation of hand-made rugs were affordable by the average middle-income family. In the beginning, these machine-made rugs were using cotton, wool, and even silk fibers. Area rugs became affordable as well as being a well built home decor product. In my estimation, things soon took a turn for the worse with the advent of petroleum based man-made fibers. When nylon fiber (a petroleum based fiber) was first introduced in the manufacture of area rugs, things could not have seemed better. I am trying to keep this short so I will not discuss other man-made fibers that were being experimented with and used. Nylon fiber had shown that it was a great economical replacement for wool, it was also a strong fiber that resisted soil and stains well. Crude oil was plentiful and cheap, so nylon became the "It" fiber for a generation of post-war, economically secure nation of consumers.  It soon became the industry standard for area rugs and wall-to-wall carpet.

    Fast forward a generation or two and oil is beginning to become expensive. This is where the story becomes sad for me. Rug manufacturers begin to use less expensive polypropylene, olefin and polyester fibers. In the beginning these less expensive and inferior fiber rugs were sold as a disposable commodity. The fuzzy bathroom rug and the "welcome" mat in your foyer were never meant to last long or clean well. You simply used them for a season and then tossed them in the garbage where they would begin their journey to the land-fill. Although I still consider these types of rugs to be disposable, the rug industry has managed to convince a generation of consumers that these fibers can be a good alternative to the now more expensive nylon, "after all, they are both man-made fibers" aren’t they? Contrary to modern marketing, these fibers will always be considered sub-standard, as far as I am concerned. I was truly appalled when the Big, Brand Name Rug Makers were trying to convince me of the positive attributes of polypropylene and that they could be sold as a high-end home decor product as long as a pretty pattern of colors were printed on them. I see these rugs in the chain-stores and all over the Internet, marketed and sold as if they were a good quality product and part of that is due to our economy. As nylon fiber rugs become more expensive, they will simply pass off a polypropylene rug, as if it were a decent product.

    This is where the good news begins. A very unique circumstance of our economy is the fact that petroleum based, man-made fibers are becoming more and more expensive, while wool fiber has become abundant and economical. This means that you can buy wool fiber area rugs for the same price as nylon, and oftentimes less. Even hand-made wool rugs are competing with machine made nylon rugs. This is a unique time in history. I have extolled the virtues of wool area rugs for many years. Wool area rugs are simply a superior product for your money, and now they are more affordable than ever. Now is the best time to buy a fine wool area rug for your home decor. Conditions are perfect for finding a quality rug at a discounted price, and you can be assured that all the rugs we feature on our web site will be a great value and they will stand the test of time.

Charles Beason,

www.RugRunnerBiz.com  – Fine Wool Area Rugs and Home Decor Items

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About Charles Beason

Flooring Consultant/ Estimator, Bi-vocational Pastor of Oasis Missionary Baptist Church, Internet Business Owner, Webmaster.

Posted on September 12, 2008, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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