The term carpet was originally used to describe coverings for tables, beds, and other furniture, and only from the early 18th century was it associated with floor coverings.
The history of rugs and carpets from distinct areas is divided into two major traditions: the Asian and the Western.
The older and more opulent carpet is in the Asian tradition, and includes makers from central asia, the middle east, north africa, indian, and china.
The western tradition, derived from the asian, was established much later. It had a brief period of individuality in france, but succumbed to imitation and to mechanical weaving in the 19th century.
The origins of the technique of pile-woven carpets in Europe are obscure, although asian carpets were imported from early times.
The earliest european pile carpets were produced in 12th and 13th century Spain, which had familiar ties with the islamic world.
All carpets were woven with a single warp knot particular to the spanish.
Two major weaving centres were Savonnerie in 1627 and Aubusson in 1742.
Both centres were established for the production of carpets based on eastern techniques; today the name Savonnerie is synonymous with luxurious french pile carpets.
It wasnt until the second half of the 16th Century and early part of the 17th Century that carpets were produced in England. The three main centres of production were Kidderminster, Wilton and Aaxminster.
Those first machine manufactured carpets were cheap, coarse, reversible floor coverings woven for purely utilitarian purposes.