Battleship Linoleum. Why did it go out of style?
Battleship Linoleum seems to be the term that a lot of the empty-nesters use to describe the flooring they grew up with. Why did the stuff go out of production and why did it become hard to find? There really are three reasons…
1. Plastics… everyone of a certain age remembers “The Graduate” where Dustin Hoffman’s character is given the tip of a lifetime to go into the plastics industry. Plastics certainly made a lot of companies and a lot more people rich by bringing cheaper imitation products to the marketplace. Unfortunately Marmoleum was one of them. All the other linoleum companies went under or practically died eventually because of good old, cheaper, faster American vinyl plastic.
2. Lasts too long… unfortunately back in the fifties and sixties with the amazing boom in prosperity, Americans wanted to upgrade everything they owned to the newest and most advanced luxury option. Many were still standing on linoleum floors from the 1920’s and 1930’s and were just plain sick of it. In a nutshell, linoleum simply lasted too long for many people’s tastes.
3. Complex installation… with the advent of click together lino there is a resurgence of natural flooring being installed. Too few trained installers in the marketplace means that prices go up with supply and demand and many folks are priced out of the market when they get a quote for sheet goods. Tile installations and click are a good compromise when the budget is limited.
4. Battleship linoleum… the navies of the world also have a desire to be fashionable. Sadly, that often means that toxic and hazardous epoxy paints are often being used in place of naturally durable and beautiful battleship linoleum. Happily, the armies of the world are still specifying old fashioned lino roll goods for their barracks and we already know that schools and hospitals are crazy about the stuff because it holds up.