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Mom used to warn you not to walk on the carpet. Never said anything about carpets making their own mark on you. There is the economical imprint that the huge Georgian carpet factory has left on the state, especially in the north-western regions, and the esthetic imprint that it has left on the country and the world:
More than 45,000 Georgian employees work in the carpet and floor covering industries with a wage bill of over 4 billion dollars - the biggest of all production branches in the state. Georgia is home to the four biggest carpet manufacturers in the globe and seven of the 14 biggest (Shaw Industries, Mohawk Industries, Beaulieu of America, Interface, Milliken, J&J Industries, Collins & Aikman Floorcoverings).
Over 80 per cent of the US carpet supply chain - which accounts for 45 per cent of the global carpet supply chain - is owned by factories within a 65-mile radius of Dalton. That' s about $10 billion in doing some business in a gold, bushy area. And then there is the untidy ecological carbon print that the carpet industries, like almost every other industrial sector, leave on the earth - a carbon print that Georgian carpet manufacturers are working hard to slash.
Until 2002, when we released our third annual review, we had cut this carbon footprint by 80 percent," said Werner Braun, director of the Dalton-based Carpet and Rug Institute, the nation's leading professional group. Around 5 billion lbs of carpets are landfilled every year, but due to the dedication of sector leader Shaw, Interface founder/chair Ray Anderson and their colleagues, tens of thousands of millions of lbs of carpets are taken from landfill and reused into carpet product.
As a result, a wide new recultivation sector is born. In the same way that hand-made terraced quilts selling on the sidewalks of Georgia Mountains led to a multi-billion dollars carpet factory run by businessmen like Bob Shaw, the recovery of carpet waste is contributing to the growth of a new breed of businessmen, such as Atlanta-based NYCORE, which makes long-lasting construction materials from recyclable carpet materials - brick back walls, stampboards and man-made slated roofs.
Every year around 45 million of 100 per cent recycled products are sold. Steele's aim is to open works across the nation, near its springs, which means that the new factory should remain in Georgia because no state makes more carpets or produces more carpet wastes. At the end of the nineteenth centuries, the Georgian carpet industry's traditional origins began to flourish when a young Dalton lady, Catherine Evans Whitener, began making and marketing blankets.
"This was the birth of the carpet industy that would ultimately eclipse the old quilt industy and actually make several huge jumps," says Randy Patton, Kennesaw State University historian and writer of a series of book and article on the Georgian carpet industry's past. Populated by street capitals in the twenties and thirties, the mounds were home to tens of millions of men and woman in a flourishing DIY sector.
During the 1930' the local craftsmen adopted Singer machine tools for heavy duty applications in order to bring the duvet making business into high volume use. Thanks to an established textiles structure, the sector flourished - a lot of thread, a lot of mechanic and economic know-how. In the 1950' companies like Cobble Brothers from Chattanooga and Cabin Crafts in Dalton designed large scale air ring machinery for blankets and scattered carpets and eventually room high carpets.
Conventional carpet-making gave way to quicker technologies of making tufts. Developments in new fibres such as polyamide and polyesters boosted the carpet industry's rate of expansion. By 1950, about 10 per cent of all carpets and rugs were topped. Over 90 per cent of today's carpet is manufactured using the method developed by the bedding sector.
Specialised dye- and refining plants, which first appeared for the old duvet making industries, began to offer services to locals. "Those businesses have just developed with the carpet industry," says Patton. Patton said the number of carpet rivals had grown from about 90 in 1958 to more than 400 in 20 years, with most of these businesses based in Georgia.
He went backwards and bought vendors to diminish dependence, and further, added or bought refining plants and distributed their own invention. Conventional carpet manufacturers began to diversify in other ways as well, and added rigid floors - timber, ceramics, laminates, etc. - to the range. Mohikaner and is now the biggest carpet manufacturer in the whole wide range of industries, while Shaw is the leading carpet vendor in most years.
Mohawk was in the midst of a landmark US Supreme Court case last past year, which concentrated on one of the most revealing changes in the carpet manufacturing sector in recent years - the issue of migrant workers. It firmly rejects the allegations. Patton said that when the industrial sector started a new century, Spanish immigration was valued at between a fourth and a half of the total amount of workers in the area.
Erwin Mitchell, a lawyer, with Bob Shaw's support, founded the Georgia Project, a pioneering programme to encourage the development of bi-lingualism. Using huge shuffling machinery that rolls out kilometers of carpet from cheap synthetics, the main protagonists in and around Dalton/Whitfield County, Gordon, Catoosa, Murray and Bartow County grow.
Shaheen Shaheen Shaheen Shaheen, the sons of Israeli Palestinians, and his Italian mother Piera Barbaglia, a native of Iowa and a native of Italy, founded World Carpets in 1954. World Carpets was one of the first businesses to integrated its operations from manufacture to sales and set up its first own carpet trucks department.
In the meantime, the enterprise has teamed up with Mohawk. Rollins Jolly and Tom Jones teamed up in the early 1950' to form J&J Industries, now one of the biggest private carpet manufacturers in the globe, manufacturing purely decorative mats. It was a forerunner in the industry's ecological sustainable development initiative, using recyclable material and minimising the effects on soil, sea and inlands.
Dalton has given the Dalton city's water areas to the charity. As Shaheen, Jolly and Jones established themselves as new entrants to the business, Clarence led Shaw Star dyeing and finishing blankets, gowns and small carpets. In 1958, when he passed away, his son J.C. and his son Robert took over the leadership of the group.
Founded the Star Finishing Co. and later purchased the Philadelphia Carpet Co., which became Shaw Industries in 1971. Since its inception, the firm has been committed to "growing itself rather than selling" by using most of this early revenue to invest in new technologies, new businesses and existing product lines.
When Shaw purchased major rivals in the latter part of the eighties, it triggered an intensive period of consolidations, and in 1992 Shaw was the carpet King. Wende is equitable, and in 2000 the business was purchased for $2 billion by Berkshire Hathaway in 2000, and in 2004 Shaw's yearly turnover was well over $5 billion.
In the northwest of Georgia, newer carpet gigants have meanwhile been created. Beaulieu of America was established in 1978 by Belgian-born Carl Bouckaert, son-in-law of Roger De Clerck, proprietor of Beaulieu Belgium, the biggest carpet company in Europe. Beaulieu of America was the third biggest carpet producer in the USA within a few years. Early counterfeit turf varieties in arched and open sport arenas were called "carpets" by the players who used them.
But not all carpets in Georgia are in Dalton. Interface and Milliken, two of the world's biggest corporations, are based in Troup County, often regarded as the Mecca of the industry's green development, where Ray Anderson found religious life. He has pledged to eliminate his ecological credentials by 2020 without using a single droplet of essential oils, the elixir of life for synthetics in the sector.
It strives to manufacture 100 per cent recycable produce. It has a facility that uses natural gases to supply energy to plants; the firm has cut down consumption to a relatively low level and polluting discharges are much lower. Shaw and Mohawk have created their own unique range of pioneering, sustainability based solutions and methodologies. Since 1999 Shaw has been using a non-PVC carpet backing and producing a fully recycled carpet tiles range; last year the firm purchased a Honeywell factory in Augusta to recover used carpet yarns.
Mohawk, one of the greatest recycling companies in historical times, picks up about 200 million lbs of recycled plastics every year and processes them into carpet thread.