“In 1881, my great-uncle Carl Hilstrom started the rug cleaning business in Memphis, Tennessee. It was started with a bucket of soap and hand brush. it was all manual until when Carl bought a machine called a star duster, which was a wooden wheel with 6 sides, driven by a motor and leather belt that was eight inches wide and about 40 feet long, and designed to get the dust out of the rugs. Rugs at that time were either Axminster or Oriental rugs, and they were in almost every household in the area. Before Fred Remmers Rug Cleaners, the only way rugs were taken care of was to have them outside on a rack, that people made themselves, and beat with a spring-type hand beater or primitive vacuum. However, even with modern equipment, we still use a lot of the same methods from 100 years ago because they are effective and delicate enough for these rugs.
In the early 1950's, wall-to-wall carpet was developed, a different concept altogether flourished, but it took about 25 years for it to overtake area rugs. At this time, rug cleaning declined to a point that rug cleaners were going broke. To survive, you had to install and clean wall-to-wall carpet. It was something companies had to learn and it is a very difficult job to install carpet. All of us that were installers developed back and knee problems after 20 to 30 years of this type of work.