Following on from our previous article – A brief history of carpets – we decided to do a bit of research on that cultural icon of the carpet world, the red carpet. It turns out that the red coloured carpets have had a significance in culture around the globe way beyond other colours for a very long time.
The first recorded mention of a red carpet as being a very special thing to be allowed to walk on, is in the Greek play Agamemnon from 458 BC, where the main character is invited by his wife to step down from his chariot on to a red carpet. He’s not that keen to do so, knowing that red carpet is reserved for the gods, not for mere mortals.
Since then of course, the colours red and purple have been reserved, not just for carpets but for clothes and other fabrics, for royal use only, and in medieval times you were forbidden to wear royal colours unless you were a member of the aristocracy.
Now of course, the red carpet is everywhere, even especially laid into rolling stairs at airports to welcome foreign dignitaries as they step off the plane. US President James Monroe was first welcomed with a red carpet laid out for him to walk on when he got off a riverboat in 1821, and the forerunner of the red carpet at the various movie awards nights was probably the one used by 20th Century Limited, which ran a luxury train service from New York to Chicago from the turn of the twentieth century until the 1960s. The service was eventually killed by the growth of the domestic airlines, but before it finished up it had carried many of the rich and famous between the two cities, and was even featured in the 1959 film North by Northwest starring Cary Grant.
At Elite we must say we don’t see too many houses or businesses with plain red carpet, although many rugs and individual carpets may feature red as a primary colour. In terms of how to care for red carpet, we don’t have any special recommendations – it’s really just like any other carpet, the colour doesn’t really matter.
“Most people don’t have red carpet in their homes, although we do see some people using red cushions on sofas and the like.” says Stefan from the Sunshine Coast Elite franchise. “Having bright red cushions on light coloured sofas and furniture can be troublesome as the colour can transfer, and so it’s always a good idea to have dark colours on dark colours. However, if you want to create a striking ‘look’, maybe just have the cushions sitting there for a short period of time, not permanently.”
Of course, all the carpets we clean at Elite get the red carpet treatment, as do all of our customers!