Synthetic fibers are introduced
Until about 1954, cotton was virtually the only fiber used in tufted products. Wool and manmade fibers — polyester, nylon, rayon, and acrylics — were gradually introduced by textile men in Dalton. Nylon was first introduced in 1947 and grew steadily to dominate the market. Polyester was first used in 1965 and was followed soon by polypropylene (olefin). Most manufacturers will agree that the single most important development in the industry was the introduction of bulk continuous filament nylon yarns. These yarns provided a luxurious quality, durable carpet, similar to wool, which was more economical to produce. Therefore, a durable, luxury product was offered to the consumer for less money.
In 1950, only 10 percent of all carpet and rug products were tufted, and ninety percent were woven. However, about 1950, it was as if someone had opened a magic trunk. Out of that trunk came man-made fibers, new spinning techniques, new dye equipment, printing processes, tufting equipment, and backing for different end uses. Today, tufted products are more than 90 percent of the total, followed by less than 2 percent that are woven, and 6.7 percent for all other methods, such as knitted, braided, hooked, or needlepunched.
By 1951, the tufting industry was a $133 million per year business made up primarily of bedspreads, carpet, and rugs, with carpet accounting for $19 million. The industry broke the billion dollar mark in 1963. Through the years, the Dalton area has continued to be the center of the tufted carpet industry, and today, the area produces more than 70 percent of the total output of the world-wide industry of more than $9 billion. Dalton is now known as the “Carpet Capital of the World.”