COMMERCIAL FLOORING | Russian Federation


Linoleum celebrates 150th birthday

Linoleum is a design classic that radiates youth, freshness and colour, 150 years after its invention. Sir Frederick Walton registered the first preliminary patent for linoleum on 25 April 1863, submitting his final version eight months later on 19 December. That was the start of a long success story for this natural floor covering.

A natural product, discovered by accident
Frederick Walton discovered by accident that a floor covering could be made out of linseed oil, powdered cork and resin. The basic ingredients of linoleum have not changed since then. With the production of the first industrially produced flooring, an extraordinary success story was begun: linoleum is not only quick to install and easy to clean, it also absorbs impact sound and insulates against cold – an important benefit in the urban working-class quarters of the 19th century.

Linoleum production in Germany
Delmenhorst became an early centre of linoleum production in Germany, as this town already possessed cork and jute processing industries. Today, Armstrong produces linoleum in Delmenhorst under the “DLW” brand, offering colours both fresh and subtle, in looks that are purist and refined.

A love of design since the early days
Armstrong also connects back to the long history of the Delmenhorst factories, which were early pioneers in experimenting with colours and forms. The resulting aesthetic made this flooring an important part of contemporary architecture in the early 20th century. Inlaid linoleum allowed for highly sophisticated designs, as seen in the work of major architects, designers and artists such as Bruno Taut, Albin Müller, Henry van de Velde and Peter Behrens. Linoleum reached another high point at the Bauhaus School, with star architects like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius using linoleum as an expressive tool of interior design.

A new renaissance with growing environmental consciousness
Starting in the mid 1950s, newly developed competing products almost managed to eliminate linoleum completely, so that Germany now has just one plant left – in Delmenhorst. But the ensuing ecology movement, with its concern for sustainable ingredients and naturally healthy construction materials, launched a rediscovery of linoleum.

Colours, designs and innovations
Our monochrome flooring “Uni Walton” has long been a designer favourite, especially among the Bauhaus architects. In 1959, DLW launched the first “Marmorette” flooring, introducing a marbled look that has since become the best-selling linoleum pattern in the world. In 2010, Armstrong presented another successful innovation with Lino Art, which allows for scattered inclusions of real metal particles. With “Colorette – The Festival of Colours” in 2012, the market welcomed a new collection with brilliantly vivid colours that were previously not possible with linoleum. In this anniversary year, Armstrong is presenting a new, completely restyled linoleum collection that is both modern and colourful.