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History of Braided Rugs

Braided rugs offer a uniquely stylish decorative element that's perfect to use either outside or inside the home. While they are one of the most popular types of rugs today, few people know the true history and story behind them. If you're interested in learning more about these highly-stylish rugs, keep reading and we'll reveal the origins of the braided rug.

The truth is that we don't know who exactly was responsible for creating the world's first braided rug; however, we do know that early American colonists began producing them for functional reasons, and this essentially created a new trade that became increasingly popular over the years. Colonists are credited with placing braided rugs in the limelight and giving them the notoriety they deserve.

You have to remember that colonists back then didn't have the convenience of central heating to keep their homes warm. Depending on their specific regional location, some of the colonists would see freezing-cold winters that were difficult to endure. They discovered that laying a braided rug out on their home's floor created a protective barrier against the cold, helping to keep their home warm and comfortable. Of course it's no substitution for a heater, but it still offered valuable warmth that was much needed back then.

While the men were out hunting, farming or constructing new buildings, the women would stay at the home where they could perform chores and other needed tasks, one of which was making rugs. Learning to braid strands of fabric together in the shape of a rug was no easy job. It took countless hours of meticulously hand-crafted the fabric in a very specific manner and direction. Just one mistake and you could be forced to back and unravel all of your work.

The trade of making braided rugs spread throughout the New World, as women would teach each other on the correct way to make them. Daughters in colonial families were also taking part in the trade. Once they were able to lend a hand at home, mothers would teach their daughters how to make braided rugs.

Braided rugs could be used inside their home, or they could sell or barter it for other goods. The constant demand for braided rugs made them a valuable commodity that others were always on the lookout for. In fact, there were oftentimes raffles and lotteries to see who would be able to go home with a new braided rug. Women who frequently visited church would donate some of their rugs to raise money.

The 20th century paved the way for mass-producing braided rugs. This was a time when factories were springing up throughout the country, many of which were in the sole business of rug production. Instead of individuals hand-crafting each braided rug, there were now machines doing the job for them.  These machines were able to produce rugs faster and more efficiently, but may people still preferred the look of hand-braiding. Today, there are both factory and hand-made braided rugs available, and their popularity is stronger than ever.

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