TUBITUFT (READICUT) / TAPITOUF (DMC) TUFT RUGS
Sarah Hartwell, 2016

TUBITUFT was Readicutís licensed version of the French TAPITOUF system of making tuft or pom-pom rugs. TAPITOUF (and the Anglicised version, Tubituft) were trademarks of Dollfus-Mieg & Cie (DMC).

Launched in France around 1979, Tapitouf was advertised on French TV in 1980 as a simple system to make a sturdy carpet. It was advertised on TV in France with a cheerful song and a young mother showing her daughter how easy it is. This advert has stuck in the minds of many French people long after the Tapitouf method disappeared. The mother sings to the effect of "First I take a bunch and I put in the tuft! "

The principle was efficient and ultra-simple. Tapitouf consisted of a plastic canvas top with a sheet of paper on top, on which there was a grid marked with symbols to show where to place the tufts of wool, and which colour to use. Each tuft or bundle of wool was wrapped in a plastic sleeve. These bundles comprised 50 strands of wool. The tufting tool was a metal tube or long cone with one flared end that had a slit in each side of the flared section. This slit allowed the tuft to be loaded in the flared end of the tool with about one third of the tuft inside the tube. The slits were forced closed as it was pushed through the canvas, narrow end first. This gripped the tuft in the tuft.

Once the flared end went through the canvas, it sprang open, leaving the tuft in place. The rugmaker then pulled the plastic sleeve off of the bundle and fluffed up the wool. The wool was held firmly in the hole in the canvas, although I have found reference to adhesive backing, maybe this was optional. It was possible to make quite a large carpet rapidly, because the pom-poms spread out, meaning not all holes in the canvas were used. The closer the pom-poms, the deeper the pile. It also gave a distinct texture to the rug.

The wordmark TUBITUFT, serial number 1134273, was filed in the UK and the EU on 23 May, 1980 in Class 24: Fabrics Textile articles included in Class 24, made of tufted fabric. It was registered to DMC and not renewed. The trade mark TUBITUFT, serial number 1134272 was registered at the same time in Class 23: Yarns and Threads Yarns and threads, all included in Class 23, and all for use in the manufacture of tufted articles.

TAPITOUF was registered in Australia on 5th May, 1981, serial numbers 359860, 359861 and 359862. TUBITOUF was registered at the same time, serial numbers 359863, 359864 and 359865. TUBITUFT was also registered at the same time as serial numbers 359866, 359867 and 359868. All of these have not been renewed.

Note: In the USA, a TUBITOUF (also TUBITOUGH) trademark was filed by the French chemical company Rhone-Poulenc-Textile on 15th June, 1977, but became defunct by August 1984. It was classed as polymer thread. This wordmark was first used in January 1975, but evidently wasnít registered worldwide, allowing DMC to register the same word in Australia.

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