Once rugs and carpets became popular in homes there had to be a method for cleaning these massive amounts of fabric, as the cost of vacuums was much too expensive and brooms didn’t always cut it, rug beaters were soon put to use. Carpets and rugs would be draped over a railing or clothes line outside, and an unlucky someone got to beat the fabric with a rug beater. The intricate design of the head of the rug beater almost makes you cringe at the thought of beating it against something, yet the holey designs allowed for the dust and dirt to leave the fabric without harming the carpet or rug.
Rug beaters were very popular up until the 20th century when carpet sweepers and vacuum cleaners became more affordable. The rug beater in our collection is made of rattan – a type of palm tree that has stems with a diameter of 2-5 cm. Rattan is solid, and along with its small diameter, it is an ideal choice for these beaters. Our rug beater was donated sometime in the early 1970s – the donor is unknown, though, and therefore we cannot be certain where it was used, but it seems to be in fairly good condition so perhaps it wasn’t used all that often.
Check out these old catalogues with beaters and sweepers advertised – prices sure have changed! http://www.rugbeaters.org/bingham.htmlhttp://www.rugbeaters.org/worthington.html