Karastan Area Rugs: Nearly a Century of History and Tradition

Karastan is synonymous with carpets for very good reasons. Back in the 1920s, the American retailer Marshall Field, who was also a textile manufacturer, designed his own carpet loom that could create the Oriental patterns that consumers loved, but at a lower cost than the hand-woven and imported rugs of the day. The key to success, of course, was to produce a machined rug that still had all of the luxury and detail of a hand-woven rug.

The Karastan mill was opened in 1926 and the first rugs were sold in 1928. But, what really cemented Karastan as the top rug manufacturer was Marshall Fields’ salesmanship. His manufacturing technique was far advanced from others, and to prove it he created a beautiful and large version of a famous oriental pattern for display at the 1933-34 World ’s Fairs in Chicago. There, he laid the Karastan rug down and let the public walk on it, touch it and witness his machine-made marvel of oriental beauty, with intricate designs and vibrant colors.

Since then, Karastan area rugs have continued their reputation for not only beauty, but quality and durability.

Karastan Wool Rugs

Karastan wool rugs are the traditional type of rug, often including other natural fibers such as silk and cotton. There are definite advantages to wool rugs. First, they hold up to traffic. There is a reason that wool has been traditionally used for rugs, and part of that reason is durability. Wool simply holds up well to crushing and matting. Second, natural fiber rugs look cleaner longer than other types of rugs. But, this is both a pro and a con. Yes, the rug looks clean because the natural wool fibers hide dirt and dust better than man-made materials. But, because the rug looks clean you may actually clean it less often, and this can cause the rug to deteriorate faster. While the dirt and debris is well-hidden down in the fibers of the wool, these same particles are causing friction on the fibers and can cause them to break. Another advantage to natural fiber rugs is the easy cleanup of spills. For most spills, wool rugs just require some water and blotting to clean up the mess. In addition, Karastan wool rugs won’t shed as much as some of the synthetic material rugs do.

Cleaning Your Karastan Rug

While it is important to vacuum your rug regularly to keep dirt and debris from degrading the fibers, there are also pros and cons to vacuuming. The best type of vacuum to use on a Karastan rug is one that does not use beater brushes to agitate the fibers. A light cleaning of the top of the rug will prevent the dirt from sinking down into the rug. If you do have to use a vacuum with a beater bar, make sure the bar is at the highest setting to avoid too much abrasion of the rug. Also, its good practice to flip the rug once a year (or more) and vacuum the back of the rug, this time with the beater bar. This will help to loosen embedded dirt and debris from deep in the rug. One other tip about cleaning: clean from side to side to avoid damaging the end tassels.

Karastan rugs are still one of the most popular choices in area rugs and rugs with unique shapes like Karastan round rugs. Learning about the advantages and disadvantages of the many choices in styles, materials and colors, is a first step in ensuring you purchase the perfect rug for your needs.