Penny Rug

Don't Look on the Floor for a Penny Rug

We only have a recorded history of a penny rug going back to about Civil War times. They aren't that commonly seen but penny rugs have a very particular look to them so once you see one, you'll be able to recognize any others that are like it.

A penny table rug was made out of wool scraps from clothes and hats. The rug maker would wash the wool, in effect, felting it, before using it. Then using a small circle pattern (some say a penny, but I haven't seen that many penny table rugs with circles that small on them), the maker would cut out wool circles. After cutting out the wool circles, the rug maker would applique the wool circles onto a backing, usually cotton or linen. Smaller circles would often times be appliqued over the larger circles already sewn down. Rumor has it that real penny table rugs actually have pennies sewn into the circles to give the rugs some heft.

You won't find too many authentic penny area rugs because they weren't originally designed for floors but were instead made to be table coverings. Many modern rug manufacturers have jumped on the antique band wagon and designed area rugs that use penny table rugs as their inspiration. They may not even be made the same way but could be shag area rugs with the concentric penny design.

If you don't have enough table space to display your penny table rug, consider using rug hangers to display your "rugs" as the works of art that they are. According to our understanding of penny table rugs, they were never really meant to be used on the floors in the first place.

About the Author

Janine Jones is a freelance writer based in Northern Virginia (she likes to call it NoVa). New to the freelance world, Janine used to work as an analyst / programmer for a beltway bandit before deciding to mix being a stay-at-home-mom with a writing career. These days, Janine tries to get a little work done when her two kids (ages 3 and 15 months) are otherwise occupied. Janine is hooked on area rugs of all kinds.

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