The American retailer and textile manufacturer Marshall Field built a loom capable of recreating the detailed craftsmanship of a hand-woven rug. From the moment the first Karastan came off the loom (2:02 p.m., April 8, 1928), their name became synonymous with elegant machine-made rugs that rivaled their handmade counterparts. So far advanced was the new manufacturing process that the trade press referred to their rugs as “Mystery Rugs.”
To share the “mystery” of these rugs with the public, Karastan did the unthinkable. They 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 stands all over the rug. Then it was time for cleanup.
They cleaned half the rug so people could see how well the rugs recover. The rug still exists in the same state today—one side almost unrecognizably filthy, the other returned to its original beauty and luster. To prove that the demonstration was no fluke, they did it again. This time more than 9 million visitors walked on their rugs at the New York World’s Trade Fair of 1939-40. It’s no wonder their rugs became known as “The Wonder Rugs of America.”