River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Runnin' On

September 2001

Stair Rods

With all the rain we have been enduring lately an old expression came up in general conversation, "It's coming down in stair rods again". I bet there are already some people who think it is a funny expression.

Every house with stairs had stair rods when I was a child; I reckon they were dispensed with when fitted carpets became popular. Before that most people had a carpet square laid on lino, the predecessor of vinyl floor covering.

Every so often the carpet square would be turned round so that the most worn areas got a rest, the carpet square lasted a lot longer that way with a bit of care.

Stair carpets were the same, because the edges of the stair treads were painted or stained, a long strip of carpet that was not the full width of the stair tread was quite usual. The carpets were made with a border running the length of it and secured with stair rods at the bottom of each stair riser.

Everyone bought a carpet a bit longer than was needed, the spare length was folded under so that the first stair had a double layer on the riser, the same on the last stair. When spring cleaning time reared its ugly head, the stair rods were removed the carpet was taken out, hung over the linen line and severely beaten with a bamboo carpet beater.

When the carpet was re-laid the folded under piece was revealed and the used tread part had a rest as a riser part. Of course with the carpets being fitted now a staple gun soon sorts out the stair carpet and everyone has forgotten about stair rods, except as a description of our very wet weather!

Janet Tilburn

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