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History of the Red Carpet

The History of the Red Carpet

Everyone has heard the phrases “Red Carpet Treatment” and “Roll out the Red Carpet”, but where did the practice of using a red carpet to usher in VIP’s come from? In the U.S. the red carpet is perhaps most famous for being an integral part of the Academy Awards, as well as many other ceremonies, but the red carpet had its beginnings long before there was a Screen Actors Guild.

The first known reference to walking the red carpet can be traced all the way back to 458 B.C. in a Greek tragedy called Agamemnon, by the playwright Aeschylus. In this play, the title character is returning home from the Trojan War and his duplicitous wife lays a path of red tapestries, ostensibly in his honor. Agamemnon fears walking on the tapestries because he believes it is a color worthy only of the gods and says “Never – only the gods deserve the pomps of honor and the stiff brocades of fame.” As the play is a tragedy, his wife kills him shortly thereafter, so the red carpet didn’t turn out to be such an honor for him at any rate.

In 1820, U.S. President James Monroe arrived in Georgetown, South Carolina by riverboat and a red carpet was rolled out in his honor as he disembarked. The consistent use of red carpets in the U.S. however, can likely be attributed to the railway system. In the early part of the 20th century, New York Central Railroad made use of plush, crimson hued carpets to direct passengers who were boarding the express train from New York to Chicago to the correct part of the train. It is thought that the term “red carpet treatment” started with this practice. It wasn’t long before hotels jumped on the bandwagon and used red carpets from their front doors to the street in order to make guests feel important.

In 1961, the Oscars used a red carpet for the first time on April, 17th for a ceremony at California’s Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

While your carpet may not have the same history as the traditional “Red Carpet”, you still want to keep it looking its best. For all of your carpet and upholstery cleaning need, Brenton Carpet Care is just a phone call away.

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