PITMAN’S COMMON COMMODITIES AND INDUSTRIES
R. S. BRINTON
Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, Ltd., 1 Amen Corner, E.C.4
Bath, Melbourne and New York
In treating of carpet manufacture, which involves theemployment of looms and other machinery of a complicatednature, I was confronted with the problem,how far it was necessary or desirable to explain andillustrate mechanical devices. Upon consideration, itseemed advisable, having regard to the scope of thebook, to avoid as far as possible both descriptions anddiagrams of a mechanical nature. A certain standardof mechanical intelligence is assumed in the reader;but this work, like the rest of the series, is intended forthe layman; and it is impossible to describe and explaindetailed mechanical movements except at considerablelength and with the aid of elaborate diagrams. Thosewho wish to study the technique of the subject in detailare referred to Mr. Fred Bradbury’s book, CarpetManufacture (F. King & Sons, Ltd., Halifax, 1904),which, though it has not been brought up to date, isa classic for the trade, as all experts are aware. I amindebted to him for the use of several blocks.
I have also to acknowledge the courtesy of theGresham Publishing Co., Ltd., of Chandos Street,Covent Garden, for permission to use a number ofblocks from their Textile Industries, which containssome admirable chapters on Carpet Manufacture.
My thanks are further due to The Times for permissionto utilise some contributions I made to their “TextileSupplement,” published in 1913; while I have receivedinformation and helpful criticism from Messrs. Woodward,Grosvenor & Co., Ltd., Messrs. T. & A. Naylor,Ltd., The Victoria Carpet Co., not to mention colleaguesand foremen of my own Company, Brintons Limited.
For the historical chapter I am indebted to Mr.A. C. Parry, and for particulars of Carpet TradesUnions to Mr. E. Stradling, Mr. Ellis Crowther, andMr. T. Lindsay.
I am conscious of the possibility of errors and omissions,and I should be grateful for any intimation ofsuch, with the view of making the necessary corrections,if a further edition should be required.
R. S. BRINTON.
|XI.||DESIGN AND COLOUR||92|
|XIII.||EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYED||107|
|BRITISH FINE WILTON CARPET||Frontispiece|
|2.||LONGITUDINAL SECTION THROUGH HEALDS, HARNESS, SLEY, AND FABRIC||33|
|3.||SECTION OF FIVE-FRAME BRUSSELS CARPET||35|
|4.||SECTION OF THREE-FRAME BRUSSELS CARPET||36|
|5.||AND 5A. CHLIDEMA SQUARE||41|
|6.||SECTION OF FIVE-FRAME WILTON||45|
|7.||SECTION OF IMPERIAL AXMINSTER—3-SHOT||51|
|8.||SECTION OF AXMINSTER—3-SHOT||52|
|9.||SECTIONS OF AXMINSTER WEAVES||53|
|11.||CHENILLE DESIGN PAPER CUT UP||64|
|13.||TRANSVERSE SECTION SHOWING FUR INSERTED||65|
|14.||SECTION OF CHENILLE AXMINSTER||67|
|15.||DESIGN OF TAPESTRY CARPET||72|
|16.||DESIGN IN FIG. 15 ELONGATED AS PRINTED||73|
|18.||SCALE AND DESIGN BOARD COMBINED||78|
|20.||PRINTED THREADS SET FOR WINDING ON TO THE BEAM||81|
|21.||FIG. 20 AS WOVEN||82|
|22.||STRUCTURE OF TAPESTRY CARPET||82|
|23.||MEDIUM TAPESTRY CARPET||83|
|26.||TAPESTRY VELVET—2 SHOTS IN THE GROUND||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|
Before the mechanical processes involved in themanufacture of carpets to-day are described, a shortsketch of the history of the fabric and the story of itsintroduction into this country may be of interest.The origin of the weaver’s loom, like that of the potter’swheel, dates back to the prehistoric times. A loomwith its workers is shown in an ancient Egyptian fresco,the date of which is reckoned by antiquarians to beabout 3,000 years before the Christian Era. In thegrottoes of Benihassan, both spinners and weavers areshown, the weavers working on cloths both plain andof a checked pattern; and both perpendicular and horizontallooms are represented. There were, however,other civilisations beside the Egyptian; and the originof 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 ofhistory of rich hangings, coverings, fine cloths andtapestries, generally the booty of some conqueror;but it is difficult to tell whether some fabric usedexclusively as the carpet of to-day is used is includedin these lists. The ancient equivalent of the moderncarpet or rug was known to the Babylonians, whowere, according to Pliny, skilful weavers; and its manufacturewas carried on at an early date among theAssyrians and Persians, in China and India, and amongthe Arabs.
The original purpose of the carpet in the East wasprobably the same in the beginning as it is there, now,at the present day. It was used to give colour to thetemple, as a hanging for the tents, a trapping for thesaddle, a sitting place for the guest, for a covering ofthe ground on which to sleep or pray; and its manufacturein any district implied a certain degree ofcivilisation and luxury.
The use of a woven floor-covering seems to beindicated in passages in Homer; and the well-knownauthority, Sir George Birdwood, cites an account ofa banquet given at Alexandria in the third centurybefore the Christian Era by Ptolemy Philadelphus, atwhich Persian rugs were spread in the King’s tent.Persian carpets were highly valued, and were exportedto Greece, and at a later date to Rome. Themistocles,according to Plutarch, “likened a man’s discourse toa rich Persian carpet, the beautiful figures and patternsof which can be shown only by spreading and extendingit out; when it is contracted and folded up, they areobscured and lost.”
The conquests of Alexander the Great, which extendedas far as India, seem to have made the use of theproducts of the Eastern looms familiar among theGreeks. At a later date the conquests made by theRoman Consuls spread the arts of the East still furtherinto Europe. At a later period still the taking ofConstantinople by the Turks drove many skilful artificersto take up their residence in Italy at Venice, Genoa,and Florence, and at some towns in France; and fromthese centres carpets were still further distributed overEurope.
The Crusades brought England into touch with theEast; and specimens of carpet were probably introducedby returning knights and their followers; but it is throughSpain, a country which acquired the art from the Moors,that they are first known to have come, Queen Eleanorof Castille and her suite introducing them into thiscountry on her marriage to Edward I. Illustrations ofcarpets are shown in pictures of the time of Henry VIII;and in the time of Elizabeth they were probably inmore general use in England than most writers on thesubject are accustomed to allow; for direct communicationwith the East had been opened up by the fearlessand enterprising traders and adventurers of those times.In Hakluyt’s Voyages there are the following instructionsto a trader about to journey to Persia—
“In Persia you shall finde carpets of course thrummedwooll, the best of the world, and excellently coloured;those cities and townes you most repaire to, and youmust use meanes to learne all the order of the dying ofthose thrummes, which are so died as neither raine,wine, nor yet vinegar can staine; and if you may attaineto that cunning you shall not need to feare dying ofclothe. For if the colour holde in yarne and thrumme,it will holde much better in cloth. Learne you thereto fixe and make sure the colour to be given by loggewood; so shall we not need to buy wood so deare tothe enriching of our enemies. Enquire the price ofleckar, and all other things belonging to dying. Ifbefore you returne you could procure a single goodworkeman in the arte of Turkish carpet making youshould bringe the arte into this Realme, and alsothereby increase worke to your company.”
Hakluyt’s praise of the Persian carpets was notundeserved, for their manufacture in his time hadreached a period of excellence as regards design andworkmanship which it has been from time to time theaim of modern manufacturers to reproduce, as far asthe conditions and requirements of the present daypermit. Many of the best specimens in the museumsand collections of New York, London, Vienna, andParis are attributed to the fifteenth and sixteenthcenturies. When Hakluyt wrote there was in existencea carpet at the Mosque of Ardebil, in North-WestPersia, which is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.The date of this carpet is 1540, and experts agree thatit belongs to the best period of Persian carpet weaving.
There is, unfortunately, no record whether the effortsof Hakluyt and the merchant adventurers of his timeto obtain weavers from Turkey or Persia were successful.Carpets do not find a place among the goods to beespecially sought after by their agents. As far backas the reign of Henry VIII we read of Cardinal Wolseyobtaining carpets through the Venetian Ambassador;and in that reign Richard Sheldon lent his house to aweaver named Richard Hicks, who produced amongother fabrics woven maps of Worcestershire andOxfordshire, specimens of which are still in existence.