Karastan Carpeting: A History of Beauty, Quality and Innovation

Most people know the name. Karastan has been around for well over three-quarters of a century, and you don't achieve that type of longevity in a competitive industry like carpeting unless you're doing something very right!

Their story began way back during the Roaring Twenties, in a South Carolina carpet mill, where Marshall Field & Company created something that nobody had ever heard of before–an Oriental carpet that was machine-woven, rather than hand-woven. Nobody had ever heard of such a thing, but Marshall Field took a chance, and it paid off when the first Karastan machine-made Oriental carpets were introduced by Wannamaker's New York department store in 1928, and a new concept–along with a new brand–was born! The new carpet, dubbed "the Mystery Rug" even made an appearance at not one, but two–World's Fairs, which was the place to see the latest manufacturing "wonders", and tens of thousands of amazed visitors marveled at this new creation called Karastan. Even more amazing, was the fact that this oversized Karastan machine-made Oriental wasn't just a display that people could walk by and admire–it was a display they could walk on. And walk on it they did, by the millions at two separate World's Fairs. As you can imagine, they left quite a bit of ground in dirt of every variety behind, which afforded Karastan the opportunity to clean half of the carpet so that people could see for themselves how well it held up to an incredible–unimaginable–amount of abuse! Suddenly the "Mystery Rug" had morphed into the "Wonder Rug".

But the innovative team of carpet makers responsible for this new "Wonder Rug" didn't stop to pat themselves on the back and relax for a while. Instead, they continued to dream of and manifest new ways to revolutionize carpeting in America, and in 1948.

Karastan Makes History Once Again

In 1948, Karastan once again revolutionized carpet-making with its new Kara-Loc® method of weaving. Slowly but surely, Karastan was becoming known to consumers as a name that was synonymous with quality. The company started offering plain velvet and twist styles, but eventually their offering expanded and suddenly, there were cut-and-loop effects and even multi-colored designs from which to choose. And the best part? They were affordable options for the average consumer–not simply luxuries for the wealthy. Once again, Karastan was doing the unimaginable, and people were–and continue to be impressed to this day by the incredible durability, quality and beauty of Karastan carpets.

Karastan Continues to Impress

Karastan was a dominant force through most of the 20th century, and now it continues its stellar legacy in the 21st century as well. Karastan is as relevant today as it was way back when, and it proves that fact year after year with new designs and concepts, all while retaining the commitment to quality that it's had since day one. These days you'll find innovative patterns, exotic patterns, a variety of textures, neutrals, colors in level loop styles, combination pile styles, plushes, saxonies and friezes.

Fiber Types

The fibers are largely "branded" fibers because the branded fibers come from recognized sources who are recognized for the production of synthetic fiber. These nylon fibers compete with each to produce the softest fibers using a number of techniques to produce soft, flexible strands. They include:

  • Stainmaster–Tactresse nylon fiber specially engineered for softness. Stainmaster nylon fibers have a cross-section like a cloverleaf. The fibers have a fluorocarbon is added to resist staining.
  • Wear-Dated brand–fiber made from type 6,6 nylon, a type of nylon preferred by carpet manufacturers.
  • SmartSTRAND–fiber made with DuPont Sorona, a largely organic fiber made of corn sugar instead of petroleum.
  • Karalon and ultraSTRAND–which include Scotchguard Protector advanced repel technology.

Karastan Carpets is the largest processor of wool carpet in the United States. If you prefer, you can choose from a wide range of purely wool carpets as well as wool/synthetic blends. Karastan uses wools from New Zealand, who produce a superior wool–naturally white in color, but completely absorbing and retaining bright color dyes.

The Virtues of Wool

Wool is generally thought to be pricey. On the surface, wool rugs can be more expensive than purely synthetic fiber. Wool is a very durable fiber, however. It is naturally resilient and can outlast a synthetic fiber carpet. This durability makes the cost of wool competitive. Karastan uses a worsted wool in their carpets and rugs. Worsted wool is the kind of wool used in quality business wear. The wool is combed and carded to exclude short fibers which are then tightly wound to form a strong yarn to make the carpet.

Tufted and Woven Carpets

Tufted carpets use a pre-woven backing almost like an embroidery backing. The carpet fiber is pushed through the backing by a machine that uses hundreds of needles to push it through. The tufts are locked into the backing using a rubber-latex material. In woven rugs, the backing material in the form of long fibers becomes part of the fabric as the carpet yarn is interlaced in the backing strands. Tufted carpets can be attractive but have a significantly shorter lifespan (5 to 7 years) than woven carpets (20 to 30 years).

Where to Find Karastan Carpeting and Area Rugs in Massachusetts

You'll find an extensive selection of Karastan Carpeting at Landry & Arcari Rugs and Carpeting at three Massachusetts locations–one in Salem, one in Boston's Back Bay, and one on Route 9 in Framingham. At Landry & Acari, you'll find every type of carpeting imaginable, a wide variety of area rugs, runners and much more. We can even design and make you a custom rug. We offer no-cost, no-obligation measuring and estimates and we'll always go the extra mile to make sure you get exactly what you wan–every time. We'll even clean and/or expertly repair a rug you already own. At Landry & Arcari our mission is to bring you the quality and styles you want at the best prices anywhere!

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