The Iran Carpet Company

In the early 20th century, the government ordered the limitation of all foreign companies involved in creating and exporting Persian carpets. This was pursued by the establishment of the Iran Carpet Company (ICC). 

On 11 January 1936 the secretary of treasury, Ali Akbar Davar, suggested the establishment of the Iran Carpet Company.

On 4 February 1936, the ICC officially started conducting business after being registered at the business registrations office. At the time of this writing, with 85 years of active presence in production and export, the ICC is one of the oldest carpet companies in Iran.

The Iran Carpet Company and 185 Years of Experience

After the passing of Charles Edwards, his son Cecil entered his company, Baker, at the young age of sixteen in 1898. Cecils story at his fathers company and how it eventually changed into the Oriental Carpet Manufacturers (OCM) had its many ups and downs. In 1908 Baker and five other carpet manufacturing companies were involved in a merger that gave birth to the OCM. While the company’s headquarters was based in Izmir, it was registered in London and its main branch was also located there. 

Cecil Edwards gained fame as a carpet scholar during the 20th century. When his famous book Persian Carpet was internationally published in 1953, his legacy was cemented as one of the greatest carpet scholars in history and his name has been synonymous with Persian carpet ever since.

Under Cecil Edwardss management, the OCM became the biggest carpet manufacturer in Iran. After the government issued the order, all of the OCMs assets and belongings were purchased and transferred to the ICC (figs.1-2). Along with the transfer of its assets, all of the OCMs designing artists and skilled weavers in cities like Kerman, Hamadan and Arak were employed by the ICC.

Twelve years after the ICC was established, Cecil Edwards and his wife, Clara Case, accompanied by one of their business partners, Bryan Huffner, visited Iran for one last time in 1948 and 1949 (fig. 3). Edwards spent his last two years in Iran gathering material for Persian Carpet. The book came out in 1953 but Edwards never got to see the result of his work due to his untimely passing. In his book, he never claimed to be the owner of the OCM in any way and he never mentioned the ICC as the heir to the OCM empire. As mentioned, the OCM itself stood on the shoulders of six other carpet manufacturing companies, their assets and experiences. These companies were active from 1836 to 1902. Six years later, in 1908 they gave birth to the OCM.[1]

Iran Carpet Company as the overseer

After the establishment of the ICC, the government declared the companys missions. On 24 May 1937, a revised statement of the ICCs missions was issued and addressed to the ICC by prime minister Mahmoud Jam.

The revised version of the ICCs missions made the company a representative of the government to oversee anything related to Persian carpet, in order to improve production and export processes. The most important parts of the ICCs mission statement:

1) Carpet exporting is only valid by businesspersons and institutions under the following circumstances:

Those who wish to export a carpet must obtain a valid permit from the Iran Carpet Company.

The Iran Carpet Company will inspect all of the carpets before being exported. In case there is no defect or need for repair, a permit regarding the exportation of the carpets will be issued.

Inspection of said carpets will take place in dedicated facilities with the presence of customs representatives.

In case conflicts arise between the ICC and the exporter, a special committee of customs officials and representatives from the ministry of trade will discuss and the final ruling will be declared via voting.

2) In addition to the inspection of carpets with exporting intentions, the ICC must oversee the manufacturing process of carpets in Iran. In that regard the ICC must carry out the following missions:

Issuing orders regarding the refinement of weaving looms.

Issuing orders on the manufacture of carpets in a wide variety of sizes and colors.

Providing weavers of rustic areas with design plates.

Raising awareness among weavers so that they would avoid using tanned wool[2] and chemical colors that lack in quality.

Ordering the increase of the production of plant-based colors.

3) The ICC is obligated to promote Persian carpet abroad. In order to accomplish this duty, the ICC must have a precise advertising strategy, plan out all of the advertising costs and how to obtain the required amount. The plan then must be submitted to the ministry of trade.

The Development of the Iran Carpet Company

The ICC started to develop in the late 1940s. One of the most important steps towards even further development of the company was establishing a factory that manufactured the raw material used in carpet weaving near Karaj. After almost seventy years, this factory is still functional. The ICC plans to increase the productivity of this facility by making certain improvements so that in the near future, it can provide other customers with high-quality material as well. The dyeing section of this facility is one of the best in the entire country.

Even though the ICC had worked with many famous designers in the past, today the design unit of the ICC is run by creative talents with fresh ideas. As of now, there are fifteen designers working in this unit. In recent years the ICC started to hire young aspiring individuals as a method of updating its designing process.

As a part of its mission, the ICC has always attempted to elevate the academic and artistic aspects of Persian carpet at the same time. In that regard with the cooperation of the Tehran University of Art in 1990, the ICC held a nationwide exam with sixty of the participants being admitted later in an educational curriculum for the next two years. The professors and instructors of this program were a selection of experienced individuals from the Tehran University of Art and the ICC. This was the first time that the study of carpets had been treated as a field of study for higher education in Iran.

The Iran Carpet Company has many noteworthy achievements on both national and international levels. Over the years, the ICC presented its finest carpets in various exhibitions around the world. Decades of experience in designing carpets have led to the creation of many masterpieces and some very unique and interesting carpets, including the largest carpets in the world.

Weaving the Largest Carpets in the World

In 1991 the ICC was given the task of weaving the largest carpet the world had seen for the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Oman.

By utilizing its experience, visionary designers and skilled weavers, the ICC managed to overcome all the challenges that came along for 8 years. The result was a magnificent 4343 square-metered carpet that was a perfect fit for the Grand Mosque architecture. For almost five years, this carpet was the largest carpet in the world and has been an attraction for tourists ever since.

In 2005 the ICC broke its own record by weaving a 5632 square-metered carpet for the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. It was mentioned in the Guinness world records as the largest hand-woven carpet in the world.

In the same year, the ICC designed and created a four hundred square-metered carpet for one of Sultan Qabooss royal palaces in Muscat.

All of the experience in the design and manufacture of carpets, in more than 20 branches in different cities, and an array of talented individuals in all fields and units, make the Iran Carpet Company a perfect candidate to produce carpets for all tastes.

We at the ICC are proud of our achievements in the production of the largest hand-woven carpets in the world. As we take pride in our achievements, we are constantly improving and perfecting our product. We have proven to deliver unrivaled quality in producing carpets with exceptionally large sizes, and we are ready to receive offers in that area.

[1] During the process of tanning, tanners remove the skin from wool using certain chemicals that drastically reduce the quality of wool.


[2] In 1996 during the fifth International Carpet Conference in Tehran, ICC dedicated an article to introduce Cecil Edwards and some of his activities in Iran. In parts of this article, ICC explains the process of transferring the OCM’s assets to the ICC. After that, by using many remained documents from the OCM, in 2008 Antony Wynn wrote THREE CAMELS TO SMYRNA in London. In this book, Antony Wynn closely inspects the OCM’s most important activities in India, Turkey and Iran.