America Goes European, & A Lot Is Lost In Translation
Once, a wallpaper unit was a roll. If you wanted to buy wallpaper, you bought a certain number of rolls. A roll of wallpaper covered about 30 square feet, or roughly, the same as a sheet of 4 foot by 8 foot sheetrock.
Each particular wallpaper pattern was packaged in either 2 roll or 3 roll bolts, but could be cut as needed. For example if you need 3 rolls of a particular wallpaper pattern, and that particular wallpaper pattern was packaged in 2 roll bolts, you could get a 2 roll bolt, plus one “single roll” – a “single roll” was just a 2 roll bolt cut in half.
Here in America, these bolts of wallpaper could be either 20½ inches wide and 42 feet long, or 27 inches wide and 32 feet long – pretty much the same coverage either way.
In the early 1980s, America began importing a lot of European wallpaper, because Europe manufactured a lot of wallpaper – lots more than we did here in America. European bolts were 20½ inches wide and 33 feet long (or in metric, 52 cm wide and 10 m long). Europeans called these bolts, rolls. For American marketers however their was a problem because these European “rolls” were bigger than American rolls, and consequently would cost more. It would mean that a collection featuring European rolls of wallpaper would carry a higher price per roll than collections featuring American rolls of wallpaper.
To remedy this disadvantage, American wallpaper marketers choose to call this European bolt two “single rolls” instead of the single roll that it was, or a “double roll bolt”, which would make a “single roll” equal to ½ bolt. If you’re wondering why these American wallpaper marketers did this, there’s one obvious reason. A $90 bolt of wallpaper could be advertised as $45 per “single roll” – which at first glance, may seem a lot cheaper. Of course when you go to purchase this $45 “single roll”, you have to buy two at time – so you end up paying $90 per bolt, anyway.
Soon American rolls disappeared, and all wallpaper, including wallpaper made in America, was made the size of European bolts, and were priced by the “single roll”. These newly termed “single rolls” were mythical, however, because there was nothing “single” about them. Customers can’t buy a “single roll” because nobody would cut a European bolt. Who would want to cut the already abbreviated 33 foot long bolt. Cut in half, a “single roll” would be 16½ feet long. With any kind of pattern repeat, it would only be enough material for one 8 foot strip.
Today, almost all wallpaper is packaged in two “single roll” bolts, so when you see it priced by the single roll, you will end up paying double that single roll price. At discountwallcovering.com we feel that this marketing technique is deceptive, and needlessly confusing. Consequently, all of our wallpapers are simply priced by the bolt.
On our website, beneath each wallpaper product image (brick wallpaper example) is a data sheet that contains the dimensions of our wallpapers. There are several different sizes of wallpaper bolts – but we always price by the bolt, and the dimensions of every bolt are contained in our “data sheet”. We hope that you find our website straightforward and easy to navigate, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us – we’ll be glad to help.
More Parts To Follow Of A Five Part Blog
In part IV & V: designer wallpaper & wallpaper brands, discussed, and finally, grasscloths compared.
PART IV – Designer Wallpaper & Wallpaper Brands
PART V – Grasscloth Compared