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Wool is one of the oldest textile fibers known to man and because of its unique natural properties it has been treasured from Stone Age human to today’s top fashion divas. Wool has been providing man with shelter, clothing, decoration and floor covering.
But to talk about wool area rugs and carpet I like to go over a brief history of sheep, where wool comes from. Sheep were among the first animals to be domesticated by man. This was a marriage of convenience – man protected the sheep from predators, while the sheep provided man with food and clothing. Domestication of the sheep took place in South West Asia at the foothills of the Zargos Mountains (modern day Iran) around 9,000 B.C. Flocks were a medium of exchange in barter economies. Babylonians, Sumerians, and Persians all depended on sheep. Since then sheep have become an important part of the global agricultural economy.
Sheep also have had a strong cultural presence from ancient times when Egyptians considered ram as sacred, symbol of several gods and mummified them to Mary Had a Little Lamb and the St. Luis Rams.
Wool is a natural fiber given to us by mother nature and no synthetic fibre has been able to combine all wool’s characteristics (see glossary of wool terms). It is truly a nature’s masterpiece of design.
Image Courtesy of Australian Wool Innovation
Wool is Healthy:
Wool does not promote the growth of dust mites or bacteria, it actually contributes to air purity indoors by absorbing polluting gases. Wool resists mildew and mold which are one of the most detrimental irritants to the immune system.
Because it has the ability to insulate against heat and cold, wool protects against sudden changes of temperature. A study conducted by scientists at the Polytechnic Institute of Wales measured the effects of many common fibers on human subjects as they slept. The scientists discovered that the subjects using wool-fill comforters actually had lower heart rates which indicates the sleeper is in a deep, relaxed state.
Natural Resistance To Mildew:
The wool fiber while holding moisture within itself, allow moisture to pass through without retaining any of the moisture in the wool itself therefore it will never mildew.
Wool insulates against heat and cold:
Rooms covered with wool rugs and carpet stay cooler in summer and warmer in winter therefore reducing energy usage. It’s good for your health and your pocket. Wool is commonly used in insulation for buildings, ventilation ducts, pipes, boilers, vehicles, ships and other applications.
Wool rugs wears longer:
Wool rugs wears longer, therefore they retain their good appearance for a long time. The world’s oldest wool rug that is still around was made in Iran in 5th Century BC.
Wool is fire resistant:
Wool is naturally safe and fire resistant. It does not have to be chemically treated to become non-flammable. While it can catch alight, it will not flare up nor support a flame. Because of its fire-resistant attribute, furnishings and carpets in your home are good insurance. In many rural areas, firemen ensure they dress themselves in wool before rushing to fight a fire.
Wool resists static:
Because wool naturally absorbs moisture from the air, the tendency to collect static electricity is reduced. You are less likely to receive a shock walking across a wool carpet and touching a grounded object. Wool clothing are much less likely to cling to the body or generate a spark.
Wool insulates against noise:
Wool absorbs sound and reduces noise level considerably. Wool is used in many places such as home, offices and concert halls to get the best acoustics possible.
Wool is green:
Using wool rugs and carpets in your home will reduce your energy usage. Although there is a close competition for “the greenest” title between wool and cotton, wool production is a lot less damaging to environment than production of synthatic fibers. Wool insulations have been widely used for more than 60 years as thermal and fire protection. Insulation wools make a significant contribution to energy-saving and thus to the protection of the environment.
Wool Rugs and Carpets
Wool rugs came to existence as simple articles of need to protect the nomadic tribesmen from the cold and damp, but their increasing beauty found them new admirers; kings and noblemen who looked upon wool rugs as signs of prestige, wealth and distinction. Wool handmade rugs have been used as a medium of currency in many cultures and just like a fine wine they have increased in value in time. Today wool rugs are rightfully one of the most desired objects in furnishing homes around the world. You can use area rugs to add warmth and colors to any room. Decorating with wool area rugs is easy, probably the easiest way to revitalize a room and tie together your home decor elements. Wool area rugs are highly regarded for their strength, durability, crush resistance, cleanability, comfort, and beauty. Wool is considered the superior fiber for area rugs. Wool has a special oil called Lanolin that stops water and spills from soaking in. That makes wool rugs more practical, easier to keep looking new and clean. Find your beautiful wool rug by browsing Area Rugs Club’s selection of high quality rugs including Karastan, Safavieh and Sphinx just to name a few.
Did you know…
- Australia is the world’s largest producer of wool followed by China.
- There are 13 sheep for every person in New Zealand.
- 60% of New Zealand wool is used to make carpet.
- The majority of sheep shearing is done in spring.
- Wool is comparatively stronger than steel.