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Worlds Fair

World's Fair Wonder Rug Returns to Chicago

October 18, 2010 - If there is perpetual life in the rug industry, it must surely be depicted by Karastan’s Multicolor Panel Kirman 791. This is the rug that Karastan put to the test at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair and is making a comeback this month at the Macy’s on State Street in Chicago.

On October 6, attendees from the original World’s Fair celebrated the grand reopening of the Macy’s Fine Rug Gallery with a special ribbon-cutting event featuring the remarkable World’s Fair rug. The original Multicolor Panel Kirman will be on display in Macy’s State Street store through October 24.

The Multicolor Panel Kirman 791 was introduced in 1932. The style, known as the “tree of life” pattern, symbolizes divine power and perpetual life in Persian design. It was part of the Karastan Rug Collection, which was labeled “The Wonder Rug of America.” These power-loomed rugs were crafted of worsted New Zealand wool, woven “through the back” and luster washed to simulate the hand-knotted look of the originals.

To prove the lasting quality of its rugs, Karastan wear tested the Multicolor Panel Kirman 791at the 1933–34 Chicago World’s Fair. An electric eye clocked more than 5 million visitors walking across the rug during the fair. Afterwards, the rug was taken to the Karastan mill in Eden, NC, where only half of the rug was washed. One side remained almost unrecognizable, while the washed portion returned the rug to its original beauty of 33 skein-dyed colors.

The rug has been stored at the mill in North Carolina until now. Visitors to the display will see the rug that has come to be a part of Karastan history and an enduring testament to the lasting beauty and quality construction of Karastan rugs.

The Macy and Karastan staff celebrated the return to Chicago of the famous Multicolor Panel Kirman 791 from the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. From left: Kevin Welch, Karastan Midwest regional vice president; Ryan Gittelman, of Macy’s; Pat Boncimino, of Macy’s; Linda Piepho, store manager of Macy’s; Anne Poglitsch, Karastan sales rep; Ken Holtan, of Macy’s; Terry Hethington, of Macy’s; and Steve Roan, vice president of Karastan Rugs.