Ziegler Carpets – Swiss Quality from Persia
Classic Persian carpets have been handcrafted in the same traditional way for many centuries. Originally intended for nomads’ "own needs as a sleeping rug”, the oriental rug has long since arrived in the homes and apartments of style-conscious persons around the world. Increasing popularity has also caused a rise in demand that the prized handcraftsmanship of nomadic tribes in Iran can no longer meet singlehandedly.
As early as the 19th century, Europeans were looking for new ways to satisfy the need for Persian carpets. Swiss businessman Philipp Ziegler was the first European to come across the idea, at the end of the 19th century, of having carpets manufactured in then-time Persia. Ziegler was the founder of "Messrs. Ziegler & Co. Ltd”, a British-Persian carpet company.
These carpets were to cover the growing demand from Europe, meet European tastes in design and simultaneously offer the quality of a classic Persian rug. The so-called “Ziegler carpet” distinguished itself from the very outset in that it met European tastes while retaining Persian traditions and patterns.
The origin of Ziegler carpets
The first Ziegler carpets were strongly oriented toward old Persian carpets. They were also handmade. The production site was even located in Persia, in the area around Sarough, ideally located on the trade route between Tehran and Baghdad. Starting in 1890, Merino wool from Manchester England, i.e., Ziegler’s headquarters, was imported to Persia and processed there. This made the carpets particularly fine and soft.
Ziegler's rugs enjoyed unbroken popularity. Ziegler continued his expansion course in Persia and hundreds of villages became Ziegler factory sites. By the early 20th century, the British company had already invested around £200,000 in the Persian carpet industry.
The mat colors could not detract from the popularity of Ziegler carpets. On the contrary, demand continued to rise. Businessman Philipp Ziegler subsequently closed trade agreements with so-called “local agents” in Iran. These agents distributed the wool imported from Britain to local weavers and supervised their production.
Individually unique carpets an affordable price
Ziegler’s high level of professionalism quickly even permitted fixed delivery guarantees and prices dropped. This made Ziegler rugs affordable for even larger groups of buyers. Nevertheless, every Ziegler rug is still a unique item to this day because they are always handcrafted.
Inspired by the colors, patterns and sizes of classic Persian rugs, the Ziegler carpet increasingly changed in design. The main market was Europe – and there in particular carpets were to meet customers’ taste. This changed in tandem with the stock market crash in 1929 and the accompanying global stock market slump. The original idea, i.e., to produce Persian carpets in Persia for the European market, perished within a brief period.
However, the carpet had already found many devotees, and Ziegler carpets were subsequently made by other producers in Iran's neighboring countries. For the past 30 to 40 years, production has been mainly in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Many creative designs are also being woven in India.
Differences from other oriental rugs
Ziegler rugs are not Persian carpets in the strict sense, although Ziegler produced in Persia and was already one of the most important carpet producers in Persia at the end of the 19th century. Rather, their style and design are inspired by Persian rugs and, for example, mimic old Persian Mahardy, Serapi or Ardebil carpets.
Ziegler carpets are different from the so-called Kelim carpets. The Ziegler’s special feature is that the weft thread on both sides form the pattern, so it is not woven with a weft thread that is fully passed through. Moreover, "Kelim" denotes all woven floor coverings – but not knotted floor coverings like the Ziegler rug.
Ziegler Chobi from Pakistan and Afghanistan
Modern Ziegler carpets are now mostly made in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Persians gave these carpets the nickname "Chobi" to distinguish them from native specimens. The term “Chobi” goes back to a British industrialist, a one-time Ziegler competitor, who in the 19th century directed from Manchester that a new pattern variant be made in Persia. Back then, these rugs were unique in their lack of contrast yet richly patterned design. Ziegler rugs that are produced today absorb these patterns, but have further developed them in a variety of colors.
Ziegler rugs in many colors and patterns
Ziegler rugs rank among the better rated rugs for daily use. Their design differs somewhat from traditional patterns because they are adapted to modern, western taste. The most commonly used colors for a classic Ziegler carpet are beige, as a base color, in combination with red or blue. In rare instances, the centerpiece and the border are also kept in green or brown. Unlike the classical Persian carpet, the colors are more muted and less striking.
The floral illustrations grow from a middle point to the relatively wide edge but do not form a real ornament. They are rather loosely arranged and twine around the centerpiece with large flower clusters. Even if the arrangement appears random, it is very symmetrical and subsequently radiates a major sense of harmony and tranquility. The Ziegler carpet is framed by a broad, patterned edge.
Newer Ziegler models are still oriented toward the old Persian models but reinterpret the patterns completely anew, creating modern and inspired designs. Ziegler carpets can be ideally combined with almost any home décor due to their variety of patterns and the carpet’s own combination of oriental elements with a modern style.
Knot count determines the carpet’s value
The knot count says a lot about the value of a rug. The denser the knots, the firmer and more durable the carpet. The more knots a carpet has, the more precious it will be. Mid-fine knotted carpets attain a knot count of around 180,000 knots per square meter. This category includes most modern oriental rugs, but there are also particularly high-quality varieties with over 220,000 knots per square meter or more than a million, which are considered to be particularly fine, or even "extra-fine." These particularly high-quality oriental rugs especially enjoy large demand these days. By contrast, carpets with far fewer knots per square meter, usually under 140,000, are considered rather coarse. The carpet’s pattern image will appear less clear, and the carpet is generally less firm.
The right size for every need
Ziegler carpets come virtually in all imaginable sizes, so there should be a suitable model for every décor. Small Ziegler rugs are less than one square meter in size. Large carpets, on the other hand, can range up to a total area of nearly 30 square meters. Whether you want to set individual accents in a smaller room or cover the floor of an entire room with a Ziegler carpet – the right Ziegler carpet will be available for almost every need. In addition to the Ziegler’s unobtrusive color scheme, which blends homogeneously with the individual furnishing style, the broad range of sizes also makes Ziegler carpets highly versatile in terms of their use.
Credible good quality during use
Only high-quality materials, such as sheep wool and goat wool, are used in production so as to retain good quality while traditional oriental rugs are in use. The noble appearance of Ziegler rugs is therefore still persuasive today. In addition to renowned wool carpets, Ziegler now also has more durable carpets made of modern synthetic fibers.
Anyone looking at a Ziegler rug for the first time will believe that it is an especially old carpet. However, the antique and worn look is intentional and achieved naturally. New carpets are bleached in the sun and rubbed off with stones to wear the pile smooth. This gives the colors an antique touch. The unifying traits of all Ziegler carpets are their high quality while in use and their internationally recognized quality, which have remained intact to this day.
Rugwell's dependable service
At Rugwell, quality is the decisive criterion for adding a carpet to our range of products. Rugwell has major experience in acquiring, storing and maintaining high-quality carpets. Our intent at Rugwell is to deliberately distance ourselves from the large and sometimes confusing market of mass-produced products and only offer carpets that customers can enjoy for a long time. At Rugwell, good value for the money goes without saying.
By the way, Rugwell offers you the option of return* if you buy your new carpet from us online and don't like it or the carpet doesn’t match your premises the way you imagined. You will receive your chosen carpet usually within three to four working days. You will always find particularly inexpensive Ziegler rugs under the “Sale” heading at our online shop. Here we rely entirely on original, top quality carpets at a reasonable price. You also have the opportunity to view the original carpets at our Hamburg showroom.
* Please read our shipping policy for specific countries.