12 Fifth Avenue, New York
For a brief period in our history (1895-1935), Wire grass (botanical name Carex Stricto) was used to make twine, rugs and wicker furniture of all types. American Grass Twine company marketed products under the Crex trade name and by 1905 had hundreds of wicker products using fiber from their St. Paul Factory.
By 1903 the company offered a line of 260 products-chairs, divans, couches, tables, baby carriages, umbrella stands, music stands, screens, hampers, and benches. Ten years later the line had grown to four hundred.
Crex rugs were lighter than conventional, woven rugs, easy to clean (dirt simply sifted through), and cheaper. People found them especially pleasing for summer use, indoors and on porches and verandas, where their meadow-like aroma added to their charm. By 1905, Crex rugs had spread at least across the eastern half of the United States.
The last wire grass harvest took place in 1931; the St. Paul factory slowly went quiet three years later. When the Crex Carpet Co. filed its petition in bankruptcy in 1935, it had $24.90 in the bank.
Almost nothing of Crex remains. The factory is gone, replaced by an elementary school.
CD includes thirty-one pages of American History.
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