Monday, March 12, 2012
A 1930s Trade-Attracting Floor
I love the Art Deco look of the mint green display cases. I love the white chairs scattered throughout the store - this is such a great idea, because we all know how tiring it gets, shopping for stuff. I wish they had this sort of thing in modern superstores, don't you? But most of all, I love the cream-colored flooring (perhaps, since it is a grocery, we can call it French Vanilla) with faint green marbling and snappy green stripes ("Marbelle No 03 with strips of jade green" to be precise). That is one fabulous, "trade-attracting" floor.
Clearly, Graul's was a place that cared a great deal about its interior design - and I think it probably paid off. I would really like to shop somewhere like this, wouldn't you? I make fun of a lot of retro ads, but this one is really good. It convinces me that Armstrong's was the place to go for a great floor. And it also made me wonder about linoleum - something we all know about, but I'll bet not a lot of us know when it was invented, and what it actually is. So I decided to find out.
Invented in the mid-19th century, it was named linoleum from the Latin linum oleum, literally "flax oil." Frederick Walton, the inventor of linoleum, first patented and manufactured it in England, but by the 1870s he opened a factory on Staten Island in New York City; the company town was called (not surprisingly) Linoelumville (now called Travis). Several other people opened linoleum companies throughout the US, and a new era in flooring was born. Linoleum is made from solidified linseed oil, rosin, ground wood or cork, and other filler, and is attached to burlap or canvas. It is made specifically for floors and it is both durable and flexible. It is especially suited for high-use floors, and ones that might get wet - such as those in bathrooms, hallways and kitchens. Oh, and in Art Deco era grocery stores, of course.
*In the ad, the name is spelled Grauel's - but on their website it is quite clearly Graul's.