Linoleum is a floor covering made of natural materials, such as linseed oil, wood flour and pine rosin. It comes in different quality grades and is very durable. Marmoleum is a brand of linoleum produced by Forbo Flooring Systems, which is the oldest and largest linoleum manufacturer in the world.
In 1855, an Englishman named Frederick Walton noticed that solidified linseed oil was rubbery and flexible. He thought it was a possible substitute for Indian rubber. After mixing the oil with other ingredients, Walton created a varnish, which he patented and planned to sell. With little interest shown in his varnish, Walton reworked the product and created linoleum. He opened the Linoleum Manufacturing Company near London in 1864.
Inventor William Parnacott developed a similar method of making linoleum in 1871. His process was faster and cheaper than Walton’s. This led to competition between many companies operating in the new linoleum flooring industry. Walton sued to stop other companies from using the linoleum name but lost the case because he did not trademark the name.
Forbo Flooring Systems began in 1928 as Continentale Linoleum Union. The company was formed after a merger of several European linoleum manufacturers. The company was renamed Forbo in the 1970s.