Colonial Floor Cloths
History of Floorcloths
The floorcloth is actually an art form dating the whole way back to fifteenth century France! Originally made from the sails of ships, floorcloths served as wall hangings and table runners, but when the English discovered their functional value, they quickly extended the art form to rugs. By the 1800's floorcloths were being widely used to insulate floors of the less wealthy, and were often made in diamond patterns that imitated more expensive marble flooring.
And of course, it wasn't long before floorcloths made their way overseas and into the homes of some very well known Americans. It is recorded that George Washington purchased one from Robert and Co. in 1796 at a cost of $14.82. We also know that Thomas Jefferson owned at least two, one in the dining room and a rather large, green one in the great hall of the Presidential Mansion, because he wanted to bring the outdoors indoors.
Use and Care of Floorcloths
Upon receiving your floorcloth be sure (if necessary) to allow it to warm to room temperature before unrolling. Sweep the floor free of any debris before laying your floorcloth down.
They are designed to lay flat on smooth hard surfaces, so watch out for any protruding nail heads, etc. that could put strain on the floorcloth from underneath. If used on brick or ceramic tile floors, the piece will dip slightly into the grooves over time. If this is not desired a thin rubber mat may be used underneath for added support.
Our floorcloths have a non skid backing applied and is painted over to prevent debris from sticking to the back. The non skid backing remains effective on many smooth floor surfaces, however a non skid tape or mat may be used if necessary. To clean, just sweep and damp mop as you would the rest of your floor. If the side of your floorcloth is ever scraped or any other damage occurs, simply touch up with water based paint and brush it over lightly with a water base polyurethane.