Carpet Beater


Housework has always been physically demanding and time consuming labor. In the 19th century coal and wood burning stoves constantly soiled walls, drapes, and carpets, so that rug beating, along with window and floor washing, would have been a necessary chore. Usually made of wood, rattan, cane, wicker, spring steel or coiled wire, rug beaters were commonly used to beat dust and dirt out of rugs. A rug beater's flexibility depended on the number of woven switches it had in its paddle, a two-switch beater being more flexible than a three- or four-switch one. This nineteenth-century rug beater consists of three rattan switches, bent into a five-loop paddle and wrapped around an iron wire rod handle. Introduced in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, carpet sweepers and vacuum cleaners allowed for higher standards of cleanliness and more frequent cleaning, but lifting heavy vacuums was strenuous work.

Date Made: 19th century

Location: Currently not on view

See more items in: Home and Community Life: Domestic Life, Family & Social Life, Domestic Furnishings, Artifact Walls exhibit


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1987.0794.01Accession Number: 1987.0794Catalog Number: 1987.0794.01

Object Name: carpet beater

Physical Description: iron (overall material)rattan (overall material)


Record Id: nmah_324261

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