Our Story


In 1917, an industrious 17-year-old North Carolinian named A. Leon Capel started a company manufacturing mule plow lines and ropes. He named his company Gee-Haw, because mules back then had a language all their own: “Gee” for turn right, “Haw” for turn left, “Whoa” for stop and “Git Up” for go.


Shortly after, while in Atlanta to find distributors for his goods, young Leon found his downfall instead: a mechanical tractor that could outperform mules 100 to 1 in the field. Leon quickly surmised that his new company was, in fact, at the end of its rope.

Not a quitter, more of a “Git Up” and goer, Leon recognized that machines were the future and quickly bought sewing machines. He braided his ropes instead of twisting them together and sewed those braids into the very first Capel rug.

New materials and mills were soon added, his children and grandchildren learned the rug trade and the company branched out from braids to offer high-quality imported collections.

Now we’re celebrating 100 years, and we’re doing it the only way we know how—by continuing the family legacy. Each day Capel’s employees and our weaving partners worldwide work together to enhance our reputation as the industry leader in braids and handwoven rugs.



We make rugs in our American factories and we also source rug weaving vendors from around the world to create a collection unrivaled in range, unsurpassed in design and uncompromising in quality.

Braided Rugs 

Capel has been making Braided rugs since 1917 and—after more than 100 years—we’re really good at it!

Reversible, durable, and full of soft premium yarns, our braided rugs are familiar in all the best ways.  Our original designs are braided from custom-blended yarn for extra durability and texture. We may be new to you, but we've been making impeccably stylish, beautifully designed braids for over a hundred years.  Discover chenille, wool, and even outdoor options, all made in our North Carolina factory since 1917. 


Life on the American frontier was difficult. Cabins were roughly built, and floors had many cracks. To stay warm on cold winter nights, early settlers found it a matter of necessity to cover the drafty floors with large animal skins.

In time a new floor covering product appeared among the settlers and became very popular - the braided rug! Early settlers made braided rugs by taking strips of cloth torn from old blankets, coats, pieces of canvas, and whatever scrap materials happened to be available at the time. These scraps were then fashioned into a braid the same way one would braid hair. The braids were then sewn together into ever widening circles to make a rug. Since the cloth strips came from many different sources the first braided rugs were vibrant and multi-colored.

Braided rugs could be created on the frontier without the need for complicated machinery. Braided rugs were not only warm and useful, they symbolized frontier living where nothing was discarded and one found a way to use what was at hand. Uniquely American, braided rugs were born on the American frontier.

The Capel Story: The First Continuous Yarn Braided Rug

In March 1915, when, our grandfather, A. Leon Capel, Sr. was 15 years old, he started a new business manufacturing plowlines, which he named Gee-Haw Plowlines. The mules and horses of the day recognized a four-word vocabulary. “Whoa” meant ‘stop’; “Git up” meant ‘go’; “Gee” meant ‘turn right’; and “Haw” meant ‘turn left’. Leon used half of their vocabulary when he named his company the Gee-Haw Plowlines.

Two years later in 1917, while in Atlanta selling his plowlines to major distributors, he noticed in the paper that Henry Ford had developed a mechanical mule – the tractor. Mr. Capel foresaw the tractor replacing the mule as the end of his plowline business.

Not wanting to be at the end of his rope, Mr. Capel thought of another way to use his rope materials in a different product. He braided his materials (rather than twisting them into rope), dyeing them many colors, and then stitching the braids with a sewing machine in ever widening ovals or circles to make the world’s first continuous yarn braided rug.  This was the first time anyone had manufactured braided yarn rugs, and Leon appropriately named these rugs New Departure.  They were an immediate hit and he could barely keep up with demand.

In 1924, Leon purchased some looms and began manufacturing a chenille yarn braided rug. The rugs he created were multicolor and vibrant harkening back to frontier days which he named “Old Homestead”.  In January 1978 more than 50 years after its conception the Old Homestead was the first braided rug selected for the floor covering hall of fame in Chicago.  

In 1936, Leon bought a spinning mill and started working on special yarn blends for braided rugs. Through the years he figured out the right blends to create the subtle variations of colors, beautiful palettes, and incredible quality which make Capel braided rugs so uniquely beautiful and sought after.

After more than 100 years of making braided rugs we have gotten really good at it! Today Capel has over 5,000 braided rug style, color, size combinations! We are the largest braided rug manufacturer in the US and the trusted supplier to many leading retailers.


It is both a pleasure and an honor to continue our grandfather’s incredible legacy of making the best braided rugs!   

Cameron, Ron, & Richard