In the second half of the 19th century, a huge market was created for Persian carpets in Europe and in the US. Many merchants bought the old and antique Persian rugs from all over Iran and exported them to other countries. They used the city of Tabriz in northwest Iran to export these antiques to Europe via Erzurum in Turkey. Some merchants also used the southern ports on the Persian Gulf to export Persian rugs to the US by ship.
By the later decades of the 19th century, probably around 1880, the supply of these fine antique rugs from Persia was on the low side. Therefore, many of the merchants from Tabriz decided to establish workshops in Sultanabad to produce rugs based on the western demand. This region had a fine carpet weaving tradition and was a perfect place to set up looms and rug workshops. Sarouk, is a village located 30 miles north of the city of Sultanabad (today called Arak). Sarouk is famous for weaving very heavy body carpets.
To meet the rising demand in the west for Persian rugs, the British-Switzerland company Ziegler & Co. opened its office in Tabriz in 1878 and in Sultanabad in 1883. The first World Oriental Carpet Exhibition of 1891 in Vienna and another one in London in 1892 created a rising demand for Persian rugs in the west. Companies such as British-Italian Nearco Castelli Brothers and the Eastern Rug Trading Company of New York established their branches in 1909 in Tabriz and later in Kerman. Atiyeh Brothers of Oregon also established their weaving facilities in Kerman after the start of the 20th century.
Of these cities, Sultanabad and surrounding towns and villages such as Sarouk, Farahan, Lilian were the most famous in the US. After establishing the offices and branches of foreign companies, the designs were created based on the customers tastes and demand and a new types or Persian rugs were produces. The kind of rugs today called Ziegler, or Sultanabad, were produced from early years of the 20th century with the designs and color combination that Americans liked. There are many of them which are called the American Sarouk. Their colors look kind of dark or dirty pink. They have overall designs with no medallion or a very small floral medallion.