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I recently came across an old letter from Mr. Wright to Mr. Pope. Upon completion of the Pope house (I refuse to call I the Pope-Leighey House) Wright mentions the following details along with exact measurements about the rugs he wants installed:
Rugs made by Klearflax people in Duluth: The Linen Looms, Inc., Duluth, Minnesota. Wright goes on to say
http://www.tias.com/121/PictPage/314320 ... o=35-m1296
Looks dead on. Any thoughts?
Where specifically at Taliesin (North? West ?) is the carpet seen ?
Do you suppose the Klearflax carpet has a high content of flax fiber, either in the pile or the backing ? I wish I could read the copy in that ad.
Klearflax Linen Looms, Inc., hereinafter referred to as Klearflax, is the only manufacturer of linen rug material in the United States. Its principal place of business is in Duluth, Minnesota. The linen rug material is manufactured from flax straw, generally in strips or rolls approximately 100 feet in length and from 26 inches to 12 feet in width. For some years, Klearflax has set up a method or system of distribution and sale of its linen rug rolls through distributors, jobbers, and certain retail stores appointed in various cities of the United States. District sale representatives of the company are also located in cities, generally in which the principal distributors are located. The rolls of linen rug material are sold to the distributors, who cut them into required rug sizes and finish them by binding the cut edges and fringing them when necessary. The finishing of the rugs in this manner is not performed exclusively by Klearflax distributors, but since 1941 Klearflax has encouraged its distributors and certain other customers to fabricate the rug rolls into finished rolls, and thus relieve the factory of this work. However, Klearflax does some finishing of the rugs at the factory, and these rugs are sold to its customers, including distributors, jobbers, retail stores, and government agencies.
The history of Klearflax's monopoly in the manufacture of linen rugs is free from any wrongful domination, illegal combination, or wrongful destruction of the business of other competitive manufacturers. Anyone is free to manufacture linen rugs, and Klearflax has no patent rights which enter into their manufacture, nor does it control any secret processes which enable it to be the exclusive manufacturer. Neither does it appear that the amount of capital necessary to enter into the linen rug manufacturing industry is in any way prohibitive. It seems clear, therefore, that Klearflax's singular position as the sole manufacturer of linen rugs is not due to any baleful practices on its part.
It does appear that linen rugs have some unique features which render them distinctive and probably more durable for certain uses than other floor coverings. They are reversible, easily cleaned, moth-proof, and they will not burn, except superficially by reason...
Economically, we have never gotten over the demise of the steel plant, Interlake Iron, the Coolerator Company, Western Paint, the Klearflax Rug Company, Patrick Woolen Mills, etc.
Maybe it's just as well:
Klearflax Linen Looms Company produced carpets, towels, and other items made from flax. The company began operations around 1913 at a site inland from the 63rd Street Peninsula. The company used dyes that likely contained arsenic and cyanide which were used as preservatives. Witnesses claim that the dyes could be seen in the surrounding waters.
An example of later, solid-colored rugs at Taliesin (as opposed to Asian rugs) can be seen on the cover of the November 1955 House Beautiful magazine issue devoted to Wright. The rugs shown also have a close nap. There is a November '55 House Beautiful at auction right now on Ebay, if someone wants to take a look at the rug (as small as the photos are, anyway). Apparently, though, that rug was purchased for Frank Lloyd Wright by Johnny Hill (while he was working at House Beautiful). Similar rugs had been used at the 60 Years of Living Architecture show, or at least that's what I was told by a former Taliesin apprentice. That person didn't mention the manufacturer.