Werner Braun: the history of the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI)As part of his regular column, Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun told readers of Dalton, Georgia’s Daily Citizen News a little about the origins of the Carpet and Rug Institute, and how it came to be the organization it is today. The article is titled "History of CRI" and dated 7/30/10.
“CRI has been around, in essence, since the early 1920s, but has roots reaching back to the days of old-fashioned broadlooms and spinning wheels in log cabins. One publication, Broadlooms and Businessmen, refers to “The Carpet Manufacturers Association” which was functioning around 1884.
However, it wasn’t until the 1920s that manufacturers realized the crucial need for one organization to keep track of industry data and bring industry information to the attention of carpet manufacturers nationwide. In 1927, the Institute of Carpet Manufacturers of America Inc. (ICMA) began in Washington, D.C., and became one of the first organized groups formed on behalf of the carpet industry. The South’s version of this group was the Tufted Bedspread Manufacturers Association, formed in the 1930s, and was the forerunner of the Tufted Textile Manufacturers Association (TTMA), which was formed in 1945.”
Then, as today, one of the primary purposes of an industry organization was to represent the industry’s interests to lawmakers in Washington. In 1929, the ICMA supported legislation to reduce tariffs on carpet-making materials like cotton and wool. At other times, the group supported intra-industry cooperation, such as during World War II, when the carpet industry converted its equipment to manufacture blankets, canvas, and other materials for the war effort. IFMA facilitated the sharing of information on loom conversion and other technical aspects. This cooperative effort led to the first Technical Committee, which continues to function today. There were other cooperative functions – advertising campaigns, statistical information and background material, product research, and internal communications.
The 1950s and 60s saw a time of tension between the old-line, established woven carpet industry and the upstart tufted carpet manufacturers. Conflict continued until 1968, when the American Carpet Institute merged with the Tufted Textile Manufacturers Association. The TTMA had become a strong voice in the tufted textile industry since the 1930s and a merger between the two had been discussed for years. The new group chose the name the Carpet and Rug Institute.
“Shortly after the merger, the national headquarters for CRI were moved to Dalton because 65 percent of the industry was centered in North Georgia. CRI and its members currently represent over 99 percent of all carpet manufacturers and suppliers. The industry now has one strong voice to represent both manufacturing and supplier needs and interests.”
Thank you, Werner