AskDefine | Define linoleum

Dictionary Definition

linoleum n : a floor covering [syn: lino]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. An inexpensive waterproof covering used especially for floors, made from solidified linseed oil over a burlap or canvas backing, or from its modern replacement, polyvinyl chloride.


See also


inexpensive waterproof covering
  • Croatian: linoleum



From linoleum.


hr-noun m

Extensive Definition

Linoleum is a floor covering made from solidified linseed oil (linoxyn) in combination with wood flour or cork dust over a burlap or canvas backing. Pigments may be added to the materials used. The finest linoleum floors, known as 'inlaid', are extremely durable; they are made by joining and inlaying solid pieces of linoleum. Cheaper patterned linoleums came in different grades or gauges, and were printed with thinner layers which were more prone to wear and tear. Good quality linoleum is sufficiently flexible to be used in buildings in which more rigid material (such as ceramic tile) would crack.


Linoleum was invented by Englishman Frederick Walton who patented his formula in 1860. In 1864, he formed the Linoleum Manufacturing Company and by 1869 the factory in Staines, England was exporting to Europe and the United States. In 1877, the Scottish town of Kirkcaldy, in Fife, became the largest producer of linoleum in the world, with no fewer than six floorcloth manufacturers in the town, most notably Michael Nairn & Co. Linoleum was first manufactured in the United States by the Joseph Wild Co. (later the American Linoleum Company) in 1874, in a town, christened Linoleumville, on the western shore of Staten Island. In 1887, Sir Michael Nairn from Scotland established the American Nairn Linoleum Company, later the Congoleum Nairn Company, in Kearny, New Jersey, now The Congoleum Corporation of America.
Between the time of its invention in 1860 and its being superseded by other hard floor coverings in the 1950s, linoleum was considered to be an excellent, inexpensive material for high use areas. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was favored in hallways and passages, and as a surround for carpet squares. However, most people associate linoleum with its common twentieth century use on kitchen floors. Its water resistance enabled easy maintenance of sanitary conditions and its resilience made standing easier and reduced breakage of dropped china.
The best grades of linoleum were called "battleship linoleum", as a common use of this material was in warships. Actual battle experience showed this was an inappropriate material due to its flammability.
Linoleum as a floor covering has been largely replaced with polyvinyl chloride (yet still colloquially known as "linoleum"), which has similar properties of flexibility and durability, but which has greater brightness and translucency and which is relatively less flammable. The fire-retardant properties of PVC are due to chlorine-containing combustion products, some of which are highly toxic. Dioxins are released by burning PVC , and are toxic in very small quantities. While the polymer itself is generally considered safe, additives such as plasticizers and unintentional impurities such as free monomers are considered a hazard by some: see the health and safety section of the main PVC article for more information and references.
Because it is made of organic materials and is purportedly non-allergenic in nature, high quality linoleum is still in use in many places (especially in non-allergenic homes, hospitals and health care facilities). The design and inlaying of various colors to form patterns reflecting the shape and use of a room is a highly respected craft.


Marmoleum is natural flooring made from linseed oil, wood flour, rosin, limestone and jute. It is hypoallergenic and has been awarded the British Allergy Foundation's Seal of Approval.

See also


External links

linoleum in Czech: Linoleum
linoleum in German: Linoleum
linoleum in Spanish: Linóleo
linoleum in Esperanto: Linoleumo
linoleum in French: Linoleum
linoleum in Indonesian: Linoleum
linoleum in Italian: Linoleum
linoleum in Dutch: Linoleum
linoleum in Japanese: リノリウム
linoleum in Norwegian: Linoleum
linoleum in Low German: Linoleum
linoleum in Polish: Linoleum
linoleum in Russian: Линолеум
linoleum in Slovak: Linoleum
linoleum in Finnish: Linoleumi
linoleum in Swedish: Linoleum
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