Life on the American frontier was difficult. Cabins were roughly built, and floors had many cracks. To stay warm on cold winter nights, early settlers found it a matter of necessity to cover the drafty floors with large animal skins.
In time a new floor covering product appeared among the settlers and became very popular - the braided rug! Early settlers made braided rugs by taking strips of cloth torn from old blankets, coats, pieces of canvas, and whatever scrap materials happened to be available at the time. These scraps were then fashioned into a braid the same way one would braid hair. The braids were then sewn together into ever widening circles to make a rug. Since the cloth strips came from many different sources the first braided rugs were vibrant and multi-colored.
Braided rugs could be created on the frontier without the need for complicated machinery. Braided rugs were not only warm and useful, they symbolized frontier living where nothing was discarded and one found a way to use what was at hand. Uniquely American, braided rugs were born on the American frontier.
The Capel Story: The First Continuous Yarn Braided Rug
In March 1915, when, our grandfather, A. Leon Capel, Sr. was 15 years old, he started a new business manufacturing plowlines, which he named Gee-Haw Plowlines. The mules and horses of the day recognized a four-word vocabulary. “Whoa” meant ‘stop’; “Git up” meant ‘go’; “Gee” meant ‘turn right’; and “Haw” meant ‘turn left’. Leon used half of their vocabulary when he named his company the Gee-Haw Plowlines.
Two years later in 1917, while in Atlanta selling his plowlines to major distributors, he noticed in the paper that Henry Ford had developed a mechanical mule – the tractor. Mr. Capel foresaw the tractor replacing the mule as the end of his plowline business.
Not wanting to be at the end of his rope, Mr. Capel thought of another way to use his rope materials in a different product. He braided his materials (rather than twisting them into rope), dyeing them many colors, and then stitching the braids with a sewing machine in ever widening ovals or circles to make the world’s first continuous yarn braided rug. This was the first time anyone had manufactured braided yarn rugs, and Leon appropriately named these rugs New Departure. They were an immediate hit and he could barely keep up with demand.
In 1924, Leon purchased some looms and began manufacturing a chenille yarn braided rug. The rugs he created were multicolor and vibrant harkening back to frontier days which he named “Old Homestead”. In January 1978 more than 50 years after its conception the Old Homestead was the first braided rug selected for the floor covering hall of fame in Chicago.
In 1936, Leon bought a spinning mill and begin working on special yarn blends for braided rugs. Through the years he figured out the right blends to create the subtle variations of colors, beautiful palettes, and incredible quality which make Capel braided rugs so uniquely beautiful and sought after.
After more than 100 years of making braided rugs we have gotten really good at it! Today Capel has over 5,000 braided rug style, color, size combinations! We are the largest braided rug manufacturer in the US and the trusted supplier to many leading retailers.
It is both a pleasure and honor to continue our grandfather’s incredible legacy of making the best braided rugs!
Richard, Cameron, and Ron
About Capel Braided Rugs
Reversible: One of the great attributes of braided rugs is that they are reversible, both sides are identical. This means that after a few years of use, one can turn the rug over and enjoy the other side which will look brand new!
Size: Capel manufactures more than 25 different stock sizes of braided rugs from as small as 2 x 3 to as large as 11 x 17. We can also make braided rugs in custom sizes from as small as chair seat to as larger as 24’ x 24’! We can even make rectangle runners up to 60’ long.
Shapes: Capel manufactures braided rugs in many shapes: oval, round, rectangle, runner, and baskets.
Super Seam: Capel Braided rugs are made with the highest quality sewing thread available: Super Seam.
Special Yarn Blends: For 75 years Capel has been making specialty yarns for Capel braided rugs. If you are wondering why Capel Braids have that special and unique look, it is because we use special yarn blends and techniques that are not easily duplicated.
Contents: Capel makes braided rugs in a variety of materials.
Cleaning & Care
Cleaning: Braided rugs are easy to care for and clean. Simply vacuum regularly without the beater bar engaged and clean any spills by blotting with a cloth or sponge. Braided rugs may be professionally cleaned using the powerspray-extraction cleaning method. Clean one side at a time and allow to dry before cleaning the other side.
Home Care and Repair: It is not uncommon for yarn sprouts to work their way to the surface of a braided rug. Simply clip them off with scissors level with the surface of the rug. Should stitches break, one can repair the rug to original strength with a simple whip stitch. Contact Capel Customer Service for a Braided rug repair kit.
Rug Padding Recommended: Braided rugs are reversible for twice the wear. We strongly recommend the use of Capel rug padding underneath the entire area of the rug to avoid slipping, prevent color transfer to the underlying surface, and to cushion the impact of traffic.
Full One Year Warranty: Capel braided rugs have a one-year warranty from the date of original purchase against manufacturing defects. Capel will replace or repair at its option, this rug without charge. Please contact customer service to find out more about our warranty, proof of original purchase is required.
Braided Rugs Design Leader
Our design team’s passion is creating new yarns, textures, and color combinations that continually redefine how braided rugs are used in decorating. You’ll be amazed by the vast and varied choices. In fact, Capel manufactures more than 5,000 different styles, colors, shapes, and sizes—not to mention custom!—so it’s easy to find the right rug. From new classics to Americana, Farmhouse to Cabin, Lake or Coastal, we have the perfect braided rug for your home.
Follow these links to see our designer’s favorite styles and colors:
- Farmhouse: Bear Creek Grey, Homecoming River Rock, Synergy Silverstone, Woodbridge Meadow, Bayview Lambswool, Simplicity Metal, Sea Glass Smokey Quartz, Heathered Beige
- Americana: Plymouth Black, Wanderer Global Blue, American Legacy 425 Old Glory, Americana 700 Mocha, Bear Creek 225 Sage, Gramercy 700 Tan, New Homestead 450 Moody Blue-show in cross-sewn, LM Stripe 530 Scarlet (vertical), Heathered 530 Scarlet (oval)
- Urban: Bonneville 310 Pearl River-show in Concentric, Woodbridge 360 Night Fall (vertical), Worthington – 700 Jute-another opportunity to show texture, Bayview-340 Granite (cross sewn), Dramatic Static 310 Foggy Day (cross sewn), Simplicity 650 Linen (concentric),Seagrove 630 Oyster, Heathered 350 Grey (vertical stripe)
- Coastal: American Legacy 700 Prairie (oval), Fusion 640 Blue Taupe (vertical stripe), Cabana Stripes 410 Sugar Blue (concentric), Sea Glass 400 Ocean Blue (oval), Wanderer 435 Ocean Blue (cross sewn), Hammock 400 Spa (cross sewn), Woodbridge 450 Coastal Blue (oval), Sailor Boy 400 Deep Sea (oval), Seagrove 430 Seagrass
- Cabin: American Legacy 900 Antique Multi (oval), Americana 100 Light Gold (concentric), Bayview 560 Cinnabar (cross sewn), Cambridge 900 Multi (oval), Gramercy 300 Black (concentric), Grand-Le-Fleur 475 Deep Waters (oval), New Homestead 510 Sundried Tomato (oval), Plymouth 500 Country Red (vertical stripe)
- Lake: American Legacy 910 Tuscan (cross sewn), Bear Creek 400 Misty Blue (oval), Bonneville 740 Sandy Beach (concentric), Cabana Stripes 425 Navy (cross sewn), Hammock 700 Camel (cross sewn), Homecoming 400 Sky Blue (oval), Sea Glass 600 Shell (concentric), Synergy 220 Misty Sage (oval)
Not sure about the style you are looking for, but know it when you see it? Then get started with a more general search:
- Best-Selling Braids
- Round Braids for Kitchen Table
- Ovals for a Great Room or Den
- Kid’s Rugs