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Loop pile (raw white)

The term tufting ( English to tuft 'decorate with tufts') or German tufting refers to a technique for producing three-dimensional textile surfaces. It is the most frequently used process worldwide for the production of carpets , high-quality automotive interior and trunk linings, and artificial turf . The process is suitable for the production of loop fabric as well as velor fabric .


The oldest preserved textile with a tufted or pile-like appearance dates from the 2nd or 3rd century AD and is of Egyptian-Roman origin. Tuft-like products are also known from South American Indians. British and French immigrants brought the craft technique to North America. For example, women in New England used them to make bedspreads . From there, the technology spread further and further south in the 18th and 19th centuries, but increasingly lost its importance and almost completely disappeared before the civil war .

Tufting gained new importance in 1895. In Dalton, Georgia , the then young girl Catherine Evans, later married Catherine Evans Whitener, experimented and made a bedspread modeled on an old, family-owned heirloom from the prewar period. Using a template, she transferred the pattern to an unbleached cotton cloth and sewed thick threads into the cloth in the area of ​​the pattern with a needle. She had previously made the threads herself on her parents' spinning wheel . After completing the sewing work, she cut the arcs of thread protruding from the fabric so that the severed tufts of thread formed a velvety surface. Then she washed the cotton blanket several times in hot water, whereby the threads were pinched and fixed by the shrinkage of the cotton. Finally, she hung the cloth on the clothesline to bleach and dry. This process she developed was superior to the original tufting technique used before the war.

Cathrine gave the second tufted duvet to her brother for the wedding. It didn't take long before she started taking orders to produce more blankets. However, making a blanket continued to be tedious and tedious. Cathrine improved the process, but was unable to meet the growing demand on her own. So she began to initiate more and more women in her environment into the secrets of stamping and the art of tufting, who then worked for her. This type of home work enabled many impoverished farm workers to survive. The demand increased further and the bedspreads were transported by truck to more and more distant markets. The mechanical breakthrough began around 1920. Powerful sewing machines that had been used to manufacture tent tarpaulins were converted into multi-needle systems. This made it possible to automate the introduction of the thread - and later also the process of cutting up the crests - and to produce several rows of velor at the same time. This was the prerequisite for industrial production.

The Cobble brothers developed the first useful tufting machine in America around 1940, with a width of 50 inches (1.27 meters). The needles were arranged over the entire width of the textile, so that bed frames or bathroom rugs could be produced much more cheaply. In 1955, the industrial production of "tufting products" began in Germany. The construction of wide machines and the development of synthetic fibers and yarns significantly increased the market success of carpets. Today most of the carpet production is done using the tufting process.


Loop pile carpet
Cut pile carpet (velor)

Tufting works on the principle of the sewing machine . Needles bring the so-called pile yarn into a base material ( fabric or fleece ), the so-called first backing . The needles are arranged in the width of the covering and at the same time pierce through the base material. Before the needles are withdrawn again, the inserted yarn is held in place by grippers. This creates loops (tufts) on the top of the tufted fabric. In this way a loop pile carpet was created. If the loops are cut open with a knife, a cut pile carpet (velor carpet) is created. The knife is often already attached to the gripper so that the pole is held and cut in one operation.

To hold the needled pile yarn in place, a second backing or latex coating must be applied. This process is called lamination.

A frequently used patterning option for tufted fabrics is shearing . A rotary knife shears the pile of the tufted fabric, and the different heights of the pile and the contrast of loops and cut pile fabric can create a pattern.

Unshorn tuft is known as loopware.

Quality features

The following criteria are important for quality:

Number of tufts

The number of tufts results from the stitch density and the needle spacing, i.e. the amount of tufts per square meter . The higher the number of tufts, the higher the quality of the tufted carpet.

Needle spacing
The distance between the needles is given in fractions of an inch . (Example: 1/10 "means 10 needles per 2.54 cm, i.e. 2.54 mm between the needles.) The closer the needles are together, the higher the quality.
Stitch length
The distance between the stitches along the length of the carpet is called the stitch length . The number of stitches is given per 10 centimeters. It determines the number of loops.

Pile height

The pile height corresponds to the length of the pile threads or pile loops.


The total weight of a carpet is given per square meter. It is made up of the weight of the pile, the back and the bonding compound (glue). The total weight per square meter is not a particularly good indicator, because a heavy first or second back does not necessarily mean higher quality. One differentiates:

Material input weight
The weight of the material used relates to the yarn and results from the number of tufts and the pile height.
Pole weight
The pile weight is the weight of the pile thread per square meter. Pole weight refers to the amount that has remained after completion. In other words, the pile weight minus the waste that arises from slicing or shearing.
Pole weight
The pile weight refers to the amount of yarn that was used for production.

Yarn quality factor

The yarn quality factor relates to the yarn quality and the yarn material. Polyacrylic yarns and polypropylene are the inferior substitute yarns, polyamide the better thread, but there are also material differences within the types that the layman and often the expert cannot recognize. A major influence on the quality of the carpet is e.g. B. also the twist of a yarn (which in turn has an influence on the weight of the carpet) and whether the yarn used has been subjected to the heatsetting process.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Review - history of the profession  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 171 kB) In: Job description of textile mechanic - Tufting, Federal Employment Agency, accessed on November 1, 2012@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / berufenet.arbeitsagentur.de  
  2. ^ A b c d Robert J. Tamasy: Spreading a Tufting Revolution In: "Tufting Legacies: Cobble Brothers to Card-Monroe: The Story of the Men Who Revolutionized the Carpet Industry", Card. Monroe Corp. 2010, ISBN 978-1450258920
  3. Ann Short Chirhart, Kathleen Ann Clark: Georgia Women - Their Lives and Times. Volume 2. The University of Georgia Press, Athens and London, 2014, ISBN 978-0-8203-3784-5 ; P. 86ff