THE art of rug-weaving was first introduced into the West by the Moors when they conquered Spain. With the advance of civilization it proceeded to the land of the Gauls, where during the reign of Henry the Fourth it was brought from Persia. An inventor named Dupont was placed in charge of a workroom by the King, in the Palais du Louvre about the year 1605. In the year 1621 an apprentice of Dupont's, named Lourdes, was instructed to establish the industry of weaving in a district near Paris, where was the Hospice de la Savonnerie, an institution for poor children. The factory was called La Savonnerie because the building had been previously used for the manufacture of soap. Since 1825 La Savonnerie has been consolidated with the Gobelins manufactory. In 1664, Colbert, minister to Louis the Fourteenth, founded the establishment at Beauvais which is owned by the French Government, as is also that of the Gobelins, which Colbert bought of the Gobelin family. But it is to the Saracens that France ultimately owes the origin of her famous tapes-tries, and it is to the Saracens, through France, that Western and Northern Europe trace their obligation.
The industry has attained large proportions in France. At Aubusson alone over two thousand workmen are employed in rug-weaving. A fine specimen of the work done there is a rug of Oriental design made for a collector in New York. The piece-work system is now generally used throughout the weaving districts of France. The manufacturers themselves usually place the rugs on the market. France buys the greater quantity, although many are exported.
Austria-Hungary, Germany, Holland, and Italy have also had some experience in rug-weaving, and even little Switzerland at one time attempted its introduction, but with unsatisfactory results. Belgium, however, was more successful, for Brussels still produces a large number of rugs.
( Originally Published Late 1900's )