What is Marmoleum and why is everyone talking about it?
When people want to know what is Marmoleum, there is some lore that it was originally the result of a truly happy accident that occurred in a crafts shop back in the 1800’s. It is interesting to note that all through history crafts shops used oils that were pressed and harvested mostly from seeds and used as cooking oil or fuel for lamps. There was really no sensible or economic use for oil other than those things because it was so dear and hard to come by.
The 1860’s was the heart of the industrial revolution and when coal was put into use in a very large wholesale manner as fuel and oil was being produced from large scale whale hunting, as well as from huge advances in yield productivity from mechanical farming methods. This all made oil a cheap and inexpensive commodity and people were using it as a base for paints and coatings to decorate everything in sight in Europe. Sailcloth which was harvested from the change over of ship’s sails was used for coarse inexpensive clothing but also as a primitive version of resilient flooring. Painted with oil paints and allowed to dry for weeks this hybrid of a carpet and a painted floor became all the more popular since it was easily to clean and was considered healthy and sanitary as it is today. In fact, the use of linoleum in residential kitchens went a long way to improve food safety and preparation because of it’s clean-ability.
In an odd twist if you were to google up images for linoleum you would see virtually only pictures of other floor products like VCT, asbestos tile, VAT and vinyl sheet material. It is really too bad that the vinyl and plastic industry has been able to dumb down virtually the entire world about the difference between linoleum and vinyl. If you are interested in learning more you can visit the Wikipedia page about Linoleum.
Fast forward to the present day and virtually nothing is unchanged in the production of linoleum or Marmoleum, which was the original and enduring brand of linoleum we still have today. Combining a few ingredients in exacting proportions and making a linseed oil dough that is colored, it is spread on a canvas back and pressed and rolled and combined and accented with all different colors to make the marbleized looking products we still see today. Technology has gone a step further to produce exacting color control to satisfy the fussiest specifiers in the design industry. Some remarkable textures like the crocodile patterns that are tactile and exciting fare bringing linoleum into a whole new design dimension as well. A combination of old, safe, durable and organic technology built on centuries of experience and a modern and constantly evolving design aesthetic makes Forbo Marmoleum a product that will never go out of style. Just kick off your shoes and find out what is Marmoleum.