One of the old traditions of North Georgia’s tufting history is the numerous spreadlines that once lined Highway 41 from Atlanta to Chattanooga.
Clotheslines sagging under floral and peacock chenille bedspreads and housecoats lured the northern tourist into small gift shops to purchase the treasures of the tufting industry. Many of these small shops died with the advent of interstate travel. However, one such company, which had eight gift shops stretching from Cartersville to Tunnel Hill, Georgia survived the changes to become an interstate retailer and wholesale supplier of carpet and other floor coverings. Burch and Claudell Beckler, their daughter Lyndal and son Randy, are good examples of those who made the transition in a developing tufting industry. This is the story of Beckler's Carpet.
At the age of 13, Claudell tufted bedspreads by hand for ten cents a spread for G.L. Westcott of Cabin Craft. Burch grew up in textiles as a mechanic for Real Silk Hosiery Mills in Dalton. When The Depression slowed the textile business, Burch sought work in Detroit. Homesick for Dalton, however, he returned in 1942 and returned to Real Silk as a mechanic.
Claudell, using a single needle machine, began to create bedspreads whose intertwined border design "looked like a black snake." Burch and Claudell serged together remnant sheeting from Crown Textiles of Dalton since World War II shortages almost eliminated available sheeting. They added a design and sold it to the tufting plants. After six months, Burch and Clarence Thomason, a restaurant owner famous for his nickel hamburgers, pooled their assets to start a small plant.