Linoleum flooring – or lino or vinyl to most of us – has been around the block a few times in terms of being trending and fashionable. Every few years, something happens, and a new version arrives on the shelves, leading to a boost in popularity. Now, as people turn to more eco-friendly and sustainable flooring options, lino is standing to the forefront. But how has lino evolved since it was first created to the product we can buy today?
The creation of lino
The inventor of linoleum flooring was actually an Englishman named Frederick Walton. Back in 1855, he was playing around with some different materials because he wanted to make a new type of flooring. He was aiming for something that was durable but also less expensive than other options. One of his experiments involved adding a linseed oil to a cotton sheet – when this was exposed to the air there was a film created. This film led to the creation of linoleum.
At first, the new product was called Kampticon. But there were other flooring styles that sounded a bit too much like this so Walton decided to create a new name. He took the Latin name for flex ‘linum’ and mixed it with the Latin word for oil ‘oleum’ to come up with something different – linoleum. Today, we often just know it as lino.
Walton was quick to realised he was onto something big with his new flooring and founded the Linoleum Manufacturing Company Ltd in 1864 in Middlesex. In no time, the company was exporting to Europe and just a decade later opened a plant in Scotland and another in the US. the Fife plant became the biggest producer of lino and the area retained a connection with the flooring right through until recent times when the factory was demolished.
Back in the 1860s, lino wasn’t quite as bright and colourful as the modern products. We have the 1960s to thank for that when the idea of brightly coloured or patterned lino products was born. The kitchens and the diners of the 1960s needed that colour and lino was the answer, forever setting it in our minds and in TV shows and films.
Lino has gone through some ups and downs in its lifespan. Sometimes it has been the height of fashion, other times it has been the budget-friendly necessity and the poor relation to expense wood floors. But in recent times, lino has moved to the forefront due to its sustainable credentials.
Because lino is made from natural materials such as flax seeds, plant materials such as wood flour and ground cork and also has a jute backing, it is considered a sustainable flooring material. It is from renewable sources and is 100% biodegradable. It doesn’t fade, has anti-static, dirt repelling and hypoallergenic properties and lasts a long time, making it excellent value for money.
So while lino may be sometimes seen as a 1960s throwback, the range of colours and styles and its sustainable credentials mean more people than ever are opting for it for their floors. Adamms Flooring Warehouse in North Shields has the biggest range of vinyl flooring at the best prices anywhere.