The chore of performing the yearly or semi-annual carpet cleaning did not end with beating the rugs. The dust free floor coverings had to be brought indoors and reinstalled in their respective rooms. This task presented problems. How could one prevent carpet movement across the floor and people tripping on the loose edges and wrinkles of the carpet? Of course, by stretching and tacking the carpet to the floor. The carpet stretcher was a clever and handy tool developed to make relaying the carpet easier.
After placing the carpet in its appropriate spot, the installer tacked one end to the floor. Then, holding a stretcher at the other end of the carpet, he would lean into the tool and use his body weight to move the carpet forward. With the mechanical advantage generated, wrinkles would disappear and a second person could tack down that opposite edge. Early stretchers were little more than wooden bars with teeth at the bottom to grip the carpet.