OCTOBER 21, 2017
DALTON RED CARPET HALF MARATHON
The Carpet Industry
Dalton is often referred to as the “Carpet Capital of the World”, home to 150+ carpet plants. The industry employs more than 30,000 people in the Whitfield County area. More than 90% of the functional carpet produced in the world today is made within a 65-mile radius of the city.
The agglomeration of the carpet industry in Dalton can be traced back to a wedding gift given in 1895 by a teenage girl, Catherine Evans Whitener, to her brother, Henry Alexander Evans, and his bride, Elizabeth Cramer. The gift was an unusual tufted bedspread. Copying a quilt pattern, she sewed thick cotton yarns with a running stitch into unbleached muslin, clipped the ends of the yarn so they would fluff out, and finally, washed the spread in hot water to hold the yarns by shrinking the fabric. Interest grew in young Catherine’s bedspreads, and in 1900, she made the first sale of a spread for $2.50. Demand became so great for the spreads that by the 1930s, local women had “haulers”, who would take the stamped sheeting and yarns to front porch workers. Often entire families worked to hand tuft the spreads for 10 to 25 cents per spread. Nearly 10,000 area cottage “tufters”–men, women, and children, were involved in the industry. Income generated by the bedspreads was instrumental in helping many area families survive the depression. Chenille bedspreads became amazingly popular all over the country and provided a new name for Dalton: the Bedspread Capital of the World.
When a form of mechanized carpet making was developed after World War II, Dalton be came the center of the new industry due to the fact that specialized tufting skills were required and the city had a ready pool of workers with those skills.
By the 1970s manufacturers had begun to develop techniques to move from plain tufted carpet to sculpted carpet. Improved patterning, stain and wear resistance, and colors have made today’s tufted carpet the choice for functional carpet for the vast majority of homes and moved woven carpet to a decorative role.
For more information contact the Dalton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau at 706-270-9966 or www.visitdaltonga.com