Whilst it is impossible to say exactly when the first carpet was made, there is evidence to suggest that goats and sheep were being sheared for wool and hair to be spun and woven as early as 6000BC. An Egyptian fresco dating from 1480BC, discovered in 1953, shows the first representation of a handloom, and certainly, by 1000AD, Marco Polo had confirmed rug-making in Central Anatolia, with the technique thereafter spreading through the Caucasus, Turkomania, Persia, India, North Africa and the Orient.
In the UK, carpets and rugs remained largely a luxury item available only to the wealthy and the aristocracy for hundreds of years. However, between 1750-1850 a number of things changed that. Between those years the UK population increased from 7 million to 18 million. Simultaneously, the industrial revolution brought rapid technical developments and machine efficiencies, and carpets were brought within reach of the mass market.
It is around this time that some of the earliest famous names in carpeting appeared such as Brintons, Crossleys and Stoddard, companies that are still around today. The earliest carpets were not fully fitted however, and were effectively large room-size rugs, or ‘seamless squares’. As loom widths increased however, and particularly with the development of tufted carpet in the USA in the 40’s, the ‘fitted’ carpet became fully realised.