Making carpet dates all the way back to 2,000 thousand years ago when nomadic Middle Eastern tribes laid carpet-like woven fibers on the floors of their homes. Today, the United States produces more than a billion square feet of carpet each year. And most of that carpet is produced in “the carpet capital of the world,” Dalton, Georgia.
Step one of carpet making begins with a bunch of loose strands of fiber that are referred to as staples. These loose strands are heated and formed into slivers in a machine called a hopper. After being taken out of the hooper these slivers are wound into a spool of fibers. Once the fibers are prepared, the process of actually making the carpet begins.
At the turn of the century, in Dalton Georgia, the tufted carpeting method was created and is now the most commonly used method in carpet manufacturing. To make carpeting tufted, the carpet fibers are woven into closed loops. This process is done by allowing a needle to push the carpet fiber through a carpet backing, a hoop keeps the carpet fiber in place as the needle moves back into the backing to create a loop. Before machines, like the 12-foot ones used today, this would be a very tedious task.
If the carpet is meant to be tufted, then the carpet moves onto the next steps. If a pile cut carpet is being manufactured, an additional step is taken to cut the loops of each strand, the defining difference between a tufted carpet and a pile cut one.
The next step in the process is often coloring the carpet, but this is not always the case. Sometimes the carpet fibers are died before the tufting process, allowing for a cohesive distribution of color. This process is called pre-dying. Other methods that are used after the tufting process include the Beck process and continuous dyeing.
During the Beck process, carpets are placed in a vat of boiling water and colors are mixed into the containers. Another option is continuous dyeing, which is when rolls and sprays are used to dye the finished carpet.
Before carpet is ready to be installed in your home, there are just a few final steps. The carpet is washed, dried, vacuumed, and any stray fibers trimmed. Lastly, the carpet is often inspected by an employee to make sure any patchy spots are filled in with a pile gun.