The evidence dates all the way back to 6000 BC when goats and sheep were first sheared to make carpet. A 3500 year old Egyptian fresco shows a handloom and carpet being woven. William Sprague opened the first woven carpet mill in the United States in 1791, and many more soon followed.
Almost all of the early carpets were made of either cotton or wool. It wasn’t until the invention of nylon in the 1950’s by the DuPont company that synthetic fibers became popular. Today, nylon is still the most popular material for making carpet. Two-thirds of all of the carpet sold in the United States is made from nylon. It is less expensive and wears well in all traffic areas. Olefin is very strong and wear resistant. It is also very resistant to stains. It is good for high traffic areas and the outdoors. Polyester has a much softer, luxurious feel and is ideally suited for less traveled areas like the bedroom. Acrylic offers the look and feel of wool, but at only a fraction of the cost. Of course wool offers a great feel and performance, but is very expensive.
You should probably buy the best carpet you can afford for the most heavily traveled areas of your home. Most of the good carpet these days has a performance rating from 1-5. Get a 4 or 5 for the heavily trafficked areas, while a 3 or 4 will probably do in areas that are less trafficked. Although stain resistance has vastly improved in modern carpet, it’s still probably a good idea to put a darker carpet in the heavier used areas that doesn’t show stains as much and a lighter carpet where you want to brighten up the room.
Carpets come in many different fibers, construction, style and design: Plush has a velvet smooth, level surface. Saxony has a smooth, level finish, but the pile yarns have a little more twist to them. It is a little less formal looking than the plush. Frieze yarn fibers are extremely twisted to give them a curly texture. Having some of the facts about carpets can certainly help you decide which one is right for you’re home, but in the end, personal taste and expense are usually the determining factors.
Becky’s Carpet And Tile Superstores are probably best known in St. Louis for their wacky commercials. The owner, Becky, who is a very large woman, is shown zooming around the St. Louis arch on her magic flying carpet. Sometimes she falls off of the carpet and once she was even struck in the head by a bolt of lightening. The hokey commercials must be working however, because the company has grown from one location to six scattered throughout the Metro area. The main location is still at 7301 N. Lindberg in Hazelwood, Missouri. Becky’s offers a huge selection of carpet, tile, vinyl, ceramic, laminates, wood flooring and area rugs. Padding and installation are included. Their motto is “For Price, Selection And Service, Nobody Beats Becky’s.”
Edward’s Carpet runs a close second to Becky’s when it comes to corny low-budget commercials. A bald headed guy with a beard (Edward?) stands in front of a huge pile of carpet playing a ukulele (badly) and sings (very badly): “Come on down to Edward’s, Edward’s carpet store. Come on down to Edward’s, Edward’s saves you more!” They also have six locations in Ellisville, Des Peres, South County, Creve Coeur, St. Charles, and Bridgeton. Their prices and service are pretty much comparable to Becky’s, though their selection is a little smaller. They have recently opened a Rugs To Riches store at 13380 Manchester Road in Des Peres that features a great selection of hand-woven and machine-tufted area rugs in contemporary, classic, and traditional designs.
Lawson Brothers Floor Company has been in business since 1928 and has one location at 1340 South Kingshighway in St. Louis. Most of their business is commercial and through contractors, but they also sell retail at the showroom. They offer free financing for a year and shop at home service. They have a large selection of carpet, marble, vinyl, ceramic, and hardwood. They also offer floor refinishing services. A little on the pricey side, but their service and professionalism is unparalleled.