n 1928, history was made as American retailer and textile manufacturer Marshall Field built a loom capable of recreating the detailed craftsmanship and luxurious look of a hand-woven rug. From the moment the first Karastan rug came off the loom (2:02 p.m., April 8, 1928 to be exact), our name became synonymous with elegant machine-made rugs that rivaled their handmade counterparts.
So far advanced was Marshall Field’s new manufacturing process that the trade press referred to the first Karastan rugs as “Mystery Rugs.” To share the “mystery” of these rugs with the public, Karastan created a large version of its Kirman pattern for the 1933-34 World’s Fair in Chicago. But instead of putting it on display so visitors could simply admire its beauty, Karastan did the unthinkable. We invited the world to walk on it. And so the world did!
More than 5 million people left their footprints, spills and ground-in food stains all over the rug. Then it was time for cleanup. We cleaned half the rug so people could see how well our rugs recover. The rug still exists in the same state today- one side almost unrecognizably filthy, while the other has been returned to its original beauty and luster.
To prove that the demonstration was no fluke, we did it again. This time more than 9 million visitors walked on our rugs at the New York World’s Trade Fair of 1939-40 before half the rug was returned to its original condition.Thus the public was baffled again and our rugs became known as “The Wonder Rugs of America”.