Thomas Whitty

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Thomas Whitty (1713–1792) was an English carpet manufacturer who founded Axminster Carpets in 1755.

Carpet Textile floor covering

A carpet is a textile floor covering typically consisting of an upper layer of pile attached to a backing. The pile was traditionally made from wool, but, since the 20th century, synthetic fibers such as polypropylene, nylon or polyester are often used, as these fibers are less expensive than wool. The pile usually consists of twisted tufts which are typically heat-treated to maintain their structure. The term "carpet" is often used interchangeably with the term "rug", although the term "carpet" can be applied to a floor covering that covers an entire house, whereas a "rug" is generally no bigger than a single room, and traditionally does not even span from one wall to another, and is typically not even attached as part of the floor.

Axminster Carpets Ltd are an Axminster, Devon based English manufacturer of carpets, particularly the same-named Axminster carpets.

Whitty was impressed by a large Turkish carpet he saw at Cheapside Market in London, and upon his return to Axminster he used his skills as a weaver to work out how to produce a product of similar quality. After several months work he completed his first carpet on midsummer's day 1755. [1] His carpets were then chosen by wealthy aristocrats to have in their English country homes and town houses. Axminster Carpets were produced for the music room of the Brighton Royal Pavilion, Saltram House, Warwick Castle, Chatsworth House and in 1800 for the Sultan of Turkey.

Cheapside street in the City of London

Cheapside is a street in the City of London, the historic and modern financial centre of London, which forms part of the A40 London to Fishguard road. It links St. Martin's Le Grand with Poultry. Near its eastern end at Bank junction, where it becomes Poultry, is Mansion House, the Bank of England, and Bank station. To the west is St. Paul's Cathedral, St. Paul's tube station and square.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Weaving technology for the production of textiles

Weaving is a method of textile production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. Other methods are knitting, crocheting, felting, and braiding or plaiting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling. The method in which these threads are inter-woven affects the characteristics of the cloth. Cloth is usually woven on a loom, a device that holds the warp threads in place while filling threads are woven through them. A fabric band which meets this definition of cloth can also be made using other methods, including tablet weaving, back strap loom, or other techniques without looms.

King George III and Queen Charlotte purchased Axminster carpets and also visited the factory which dominated the English carpet market between 1755 and 1835 when Samuel Rampson Whitty, the grandson of the founder was declared bankrupt following a disastrous fire seven years earlier which destroyed the weaving looms.

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz Queen consort of the United Kingdom as the wife of King George III

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was the wife of King George III. She served as Queen of Great Britain and Queen of Ireland from her wedding in 1761 until the union of the two kingdoms in 1801, after which she was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1818. She was also the Electress of Hanover in the Holy Roman Empire until the promotion of her husband to King of Hanover on 12 October 1814, after which she was also queen consort of Hanover.

Loom device for weaving textiles, generally having mechanisms to hold warp threads in tension and to create a shed or opening for filling threads to pass through

A loom is a device used to weave cloth and tapestry. The basic purpose of any loom is to hold the warp threads under tension to facilitate the interweaving of the weft threads. The precise shape of the loom and its mechanics may vary, but the basic function is the same.

Blackmores of Wilton, near Salisbury, bought the remaining stock and looms and extended their business to include hand-knotted carpets which were still called Axminsters.

Wilton, Wiltshire Town and civil parish in Wiltshire, England

Wilton is a town and civil parish in Wiltshire, England, with a rich heritage dating back to the Anglo-Saxons. Carpets have been manufactured at Wilton since the 18th century. Today it is overshadowed by its larger neighbour, Salisbury, but it still has a range of notable shops and attractions, including Wilton House.

Salisbury Cathedral city in Wiltshire, England

Salisbury is a cathedral city in Wiltshire, England, with a population of 40,302, at the confluence of the rivers Avon, Nadder, Ebble, Wylye and Bourne. The city is approximately 20 miles (32 km) from Southampton and 30 miles (48 km) from Bath.

Related Research Articles

Persian carpet type of handmade carpet

A Persian carpet or Persian rug, also known as Iranian carpet, is a heavy textile made for a wide variety of utilitarian and symbolic purposes and produced in Iran, for home use, local sale, and export. Carpet weaving is an essential part of Persian culture and Iranian art. Within the group of Oriental rugs produced by the countries of the so-called "rug belt", the Persian carpet stands out by the variety and elaborateness of its manifold designs.


A kilim is a flat tapestry-woven carpet or rug traditionally produced in countries of the former Persian Empire, Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkic countries of Central Asia. Kilims can be purely decorative or can function as prayer rugs. Modern kilims are popular floor-coverings in Western households.

Erastus Brigham Bigelow American businessman

Erastus Brigham Bigelow was an American inventor of weaving machines.

Axminster railway station

Axminster railway station is south-west of the compact town centre of Axminster in Devon, England. Opened by the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) in 1860, it is served by South Western Railway’s London to Exeter services on the West of England Main Line. It is 144 miles 41 chains (232.6 km) down the line from London Waterloo.

Ushak carpet

Uşak carpets, Ushak carpets or Oushak Carpets are Turkish carpets that use a particular family of designs, called by convention after the city of Uşak, Turkey – one of the larger towns in Western Anatolia, which was a major center of rug production from the early days of the Ottoman Empire, into the early 20th century.

Oriental rug Type of textile

An oriental rug is a heavy textile made for a wide variety of utilitarian and symbolic purposes and produced in “Oriental countries” for home use, local sale, and export.

Anatolian rug

Anatolian rug is a term of convenience, commonly used today to denote rugs and carpets woven in Anatolia and its adjacent regions. Geographically, its area of production can be compared to the territories which were historically dominated by the Ottoman Empire. It denotes a knotted, pile-woven floor or wall covering which is produced for home use, local sale, and export. Together with the flat-woven kilim, Anatolian rugs represent an essential part of the regional culture, which is officially understood as the Culture of Turkey today, and derives from the ethnic, religious and cultural pluralism of one of the most ancient centres of human civilisation.

A & M Karagheusian

A. & M. Karagheusian, Inc. was a rug manufacturer headquartered at 295 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Manufacturing was located in Freehold Borough, New Jersey and operated for 60 years before closing in 1964. It employed 1,700 people at its peak operation in the 1930s. Bruce Springsteen wrote about the Karagheusian Rug Mill’s closing in his 1984 song "My Hometown".

Events from the year 1755 in Great Britain.

Axminster Museum

Axminster Heritage tells the story of Axminster’s past -its early beginnings as Stone and Bronze Age settlements, the importance of the waters of the River Axe and of Axminster as a river crossing point for Romans and other travellers, the importance of farming and the growth of industry particularly the story of Thomas Whitty and the history of his carpet business. New displays for 2017 include more about the modern Axminster Carpets started by the Dutfield family in 1937 and more about the town’s important brush making industry. They show Axminster to be not only enterprising but resilient, particularly during times of war. Visitors will learn from an eye-witness Parliamentarian account, for instance, that the town was almost completely destroyed by fire during the English Civil War. Displays also highlight some of the Eminent Victorians who shaped Axminster. They include local historian George Pulman, author of the 'Book of the Axe'; Emily Conybeare, founder of the town's original Cottage Hospital and James Davidson author of ‘A History of the Town and Parish of Axminster’ .Fellow Victorian Dean William Buckland, one of Britain's leading geologists, is the anchor for a new range of geological specimens. His fascinating account of the massive Axmouth landslip of 1839 brings alive this stretch of the coast, adding a new dimension to the coastal walk between Seaton and Lyme.

Hereke is a town in Kocaeli province, Turkey, located to the north of the Gulf of İzmit, near Istanbul. It is famous for Hereke carpets. It was bound to Gebze district until transferring to Körfez in 1987 and had municipality status until 2009. It consists of 17 Ağustos, Agah Ateş, Cumhuriyet, Hacı Akif, Kışladüzü, Şirinyalı and Yukarı Hereke mahalles. It can be reached by minibus, public bus, Adapazarı Express train, ship and sea bus.

Associated Weavers International Group is currently a Belgian textile manufacturing company. The company head office and production plant is located in Ronse.

Turkmen rug

A Turkmen rug is a type of handmade floor-covering textile traditionally originating in Central Asia. It is useful to distinguish between the original Turkmen tribal rugs and the rugs produced in large numbers for export mainly in Pakistan and Iran today. The original Turkmen rugs were produced by the Turkmen tribes who are the main ethnic group in Turkmenistan and are also found in Afghanistan and Iran. They are used for various purposes, including tent rugs, door hangings and bags of various sizes.

A Sarouk rug is a type of Persian rug from Markazi Province in Iran. Sarouk rugs are those woven in the village of Saruk and also the city of Arak and the surrounding countryside.

Alexander Smith Carpet Mills Historic District

The Alexander Smith Carpet Mills Historic District is a national historic district located at Yonkers, Westchester County, New York. It includes 85 contributing buildings. It encompasses 19 stylistically varied mill buildings and six rows of workers' housing. They were developed between 1871 and 1930 along the banks of the Saw Mill River. The main mill building was originally built in 1871 and expanded between 1876 and 1883. It is a three-story, rectangular building, 52 bays wide and five bays deep in the Second Empire style. It features a four-story tower and a five-story tower. The workers' housing, known as Moquette Row, North and South, was built between 1881 and 1886. Many workers that lived in this housing originally were immigrants to the United States. They came from Scotland, Ireland, and Ukraine. The carpet works were developed by Alexander Smith (1818-1878) The company closed the Yonkers mills and relocated to Greenville, Mississippi, in 1954. At the time of its closing, there were 2,400 who worked at the carpet mill. At the time of World War II, there was 7,000 employees who worked at the mill.It was later absorbed into Mohawk Carpet, later Mohasco Corporation. The carpet weaving industry was revolutionized by looms invented in this plant by Alexander Smith and Halcyon Skinner. Skinner, an engineer, designed a loom know as the Axminster power loom, which revolutionized the production of carpets. A patent for this loom was created in 1877 and royalty rights were sold to European and American companies at the rate of twenty cents per yard of carpet produced.

Pictorial carpet

A pictorial carpet, picture carpet, tableau rug, carpet tableau or rug tableau is an ornamental rug specially prepared for hanging on room and hall walls for decoration. The designs and samples on pictorial carpets are completely different from those on common floor rugs. Pictorial carpets are generally made of silk but they have also been made from wool. Pictorial carpets are usually framed to sell and use.

Oriental Carpet Manufacturers

The Oriental Carpet Manufacturers (OCM) was a London-based company involved in the production of, and trade with, Oriental carpets. Established in 1907/8 in Istanbul, the company set up and controlled their own carpet manufactures in the central Anatolian region around the town of Konya, and from 1911 onwards, in the Hamadan Province in northwestern Iran. In 1968 it was sold, and merged with one of its former affiliates, the Eastern Kayyam Company. From 1924 until 1948, OCM was led by Arthur Cecil Edwards, who, after retiring, wrote a text book on Persian Carpets, which is still in print today.


  1. Peter Long (2005). The Hidden Places of Devon. Travel Publishing Ltd. ISBN   1-904434-30-4.