carpet man

arpeggione

Member
Croatian, Croatia
Is a "carpet man" someone who makes or sells or perhaps repairs carpets? At the beginning of 19. century - Dorothy Wordsworth journals.
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Hi arpeggione,
    We need more context. In modern AE it would most likely mean the carpet installer, but in Ms. Wordsworth's time I assume it would be something else.
     

    arpeggione

    Member
    Croatian, Croatia
    Hi, cuchuflete,
    as usual, not much context:
    "Grundy the carpet man called. I paid him one pound ten shillings."
    I know I'm a bit boring with my D. W. problems, but I also have to say that I really appreciate the help I get from this forum.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    From that snippet we might assume a carpet repairman or a cleaner. Depending on the price of carpets in those days, and the size of the carpet in question, he might also have been paid for merchandise. The context is just not sufficient to point firmly at the best answer.
     

    arpeggione

    Member
    Croatian, Croatia
    One pound ten shillings seems a lot for repairing or cleaning (they payed a woman who helped with housework 2 shillings weekly). Is it lingusitically possible that he made carpets?
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    One pound ten shillings seems a lot for repairing or cleaning (they payed a woman who helped with housework 2 shillings weekly).
    I'm not sure. I imagine that before the vacuum cleaner was invented, cleaning a big carpet was quite an operation. I suppose the carpet man had to bring scaffolding or a similar structure so that the carpet could be hung up for beating. Then I suppose that many people lived with extensive patches in their carpets - not like in today's throw-away culture.
     

    arpeggione

    Member
    Croatian, Croatia
    Yes, but I was thinking a bit more about it: they moved in their cottage just several months before that time and when they moved in the cottage was practically empty. So it seems logical that they bought a carpet or two, and the man could be maker or seller. But I guess I have to find a sort of similarly equivocal tranlsation.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I don't think you will have been expecting this.
    The OED tells me that a carpet man was:
    carpet-man, carpet-monger, one who frequents ladies' boudoirs or carpeted chambers, one who deals in ‘carpet-trade’;
    What's carpet-trade?
    carpet-trade, the occupations and amusements of the chamber or boudoir.
    The examples quoted are from the 17th century. Could DW have been entertaining a toy-boy and paying him the equivalent of three months wages for a maid?
     

    sloopjc

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I don't think you will have been expecting this.
    Could DW have been entertaining a toy-boy and paying him the equivalent of three months wages for a maid?
    Panj, I'd like to think the original context harks back to a golden era.

    A review at Amazon.co makes this comment:

    "Dorothy Wordsworth's journals are an exquisite and delicate record of everyday life.../ Most interesting are her depictions of the landscapes and her descriptions of the marginalised peoples. Her journals note down destitute figures, a begger woman and her sons, a woman who drowned herself, two beggers, the plodding mail man etc."

    source: http://www.amazon.com/Grasmere-Alfoxden-Journals-Oxford-Classics/dp/0192840622

    I'm sure the carpet man was just another tradesman, and that your toy-boy theory is quite possibly outside the margins - who knows?
     

    arpeggione

    Member
    Croatian, Croatia
    Thank you for another meaning of "carpet man", panajndrum, but if you read just a few entries of Dorothy's journal you'd see your toy-boy theory as utterly impossible.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I found this on American document from 1885 on Google Image. This firm charged seven and a half cents a square yard to take up and beat your carpet. I am not sure how much that would be in sterling at that time!
    http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.vachunter.com/imageJ1B.JPG&imgrefurl=http://www.vachunter.com/beaters.htm&h=345&w=420&sz=124&hl=en&start=3&tbnid=uRHiBdH8z2VGjM:&tbnh=103&tbnw=125&prev=/images%3Fq%3D%2Bcarpet%2Bbeating%26gbv%3D2%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG

    Here's another one from Canada.
    http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/massic/detail/2-240-a.jpg

    It looks like in some cases they took your carpet away to subject it to a special cleaning process.
    http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/heritage-lg-5720b.jpg
     

    arpeggione

    Member
    Croatian, Croatia
    No, I don't think so, I even doubt she was aware of it, she lived a sort of austere life and didn't move much in society where such practice could be expected.
     
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