31 linoleum rugs from Armstrong, 1954

flowered linoleum rugwhat to collectThe subject of linoleum area rugs came up again recently, and I Scan Therefore I Am, so I dug out my 1954 Armstrong flooring catalog to show what was being sold back in the day. In all, it seems that Armstrong was selling 31 different linoleum are rug designs — plus faux wood linoleum floor edging — in 1954. These were sold under the Armstrong Quaker Rug brand. I also have a 1955 catalog and at some point will cross reference the two to see if there are more.

linoleum rugsActually, I was surprised there were as many as 28 linoleum rugs beings sold by Armstrong as late at 1954. I have tended to believe that by this time, vinyl composite tiles (of many variations) were all the rage by then.

I need to really study this whole catalog more – but just by scanning the sheet yardage goods and tiles (many many more than rugs), there was a wide variety of flooring available in 1954 — from true linoleum to inlaid linoleum to vinyl composites to plastics, even.


Remember this video? Shows a pretty linoleum rug from even earlier. Tina says that linoleum rugs were introduced in the late 19th century, for folks who could not afford a wool rug.

linoleum rug constructionAbove: The catalog shows how these Armstrong Quaker rugs were constructed. BUT NOTE, they’re not telling us exactly all the material used — this is not a Material Safety Data Sheet like we get today, and I don’t even know if they had them back then. So, we don’t really know all the materials used to make these rugs. As part of my RENOVATE SAFE mantra, I recommend that if you are going to live with one of these rugs — consult with a properly licensed professional to determine what’s in yours so that you can make informed decision. This goes for any type of vintage flooring and all the layers of your vintage house. One of the many joys of living in an old house, duh. Note: Don’t give advice here, I will edit it out; consult with pros.

linoleum rug in kitchenI have only come across a linoleum rug once in my travels. At an estate sale 15 years ago. It was in the dining room of a cute bungalow on East Henry Street in Saline, Michigan, about a block from our first house. It was adorable, and I could have bought it for just $35. But, it was very brittle, and I didn’t think it would make it out the front door without breaking unless I put it on a sheet of plywood the same size, and it was bigger than 4×8, and it was all a hassle, so I just passed.

I think that is an issue with these old linoleum rugs: They get brittle.

linoleum rug in cullens apartmentEven though these rugs were likely very common in the past, I guess that over time, they were just thrown out, because of the brittleness issue and because folks didn’t pay them much mind. The were the “old floor.” So, I think they are pretty rare today. If you find one in excellent shape — see the linoleum rug in Cullen’s fabulous apartment — it is probably worth some money.

novelty linoleum rugLook: Cullen’s rug is Armstrong No. 4596, shown in my 1954 catalog.

linoleum edging for linoleum rugI tend to believe that linoleum rugs were purchased by homeowners who already had their houses built. They may have had low-cost wood flooring down — fir was common, I think. And, they wanted a softer covering but could not afford a real oriental or Wilton rug.

linoleum rug that looks like an oriental rugSo they got a linoleum rug. Above: Yes, that’s a linoleum rug designed to look like an oriental carpet

Continue on for the complete line of linoleum rugs available from Armstrong in 1954. Note, a number of these designs were available as sheet flooring, too. I recognize many designs from estate sale houses I’ve been in. In those houses, the floors are still in pretty great shape, although, again, along the edges and at the seams, you can see the brittleness of the years showing. In general, though, this stuff was Built to Last.

linoleum rugvintage linoleum rugarmstrong linoleum rugblue linoleum rugflowered linoleum rugblue flower linoleum ruggray and coral linoleum ruggreen flower linoleum rugbrown flower lineoleum rugchecker linoleum ruggreeln check linoleum rugyellow linoleum rugvintage linoleum rugvintage linoleum ruglinoleum rug that looks like an oriental rugnovelty linoleum rug

Readers, which design of vintage linoleum rug do you hope to stumble upon (literally) soon?

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Comments

  1. Anne says

    Can someone tell me how I send a photo to this blog? I have one in a Shutterfly album but don’t want to provide access to the whole album online which I think might happen. It’s a photo of a cowboy and indians linoleum rug.

  2. says

    I have an Armstrong Quaker linoleum rug that I am selling. (I actually have three of them that are in the bedrooms of the home I purchased, but only one is ready for removal, as I am remodeling.) It’s pattern No. 4565 and pictures are available on my website. If you are interested, please contact me via email to janine.m.allen at gmail.com. I am located near Buffalo, New York and you would need to pick it up or arrange for delivery. Here is a link to the pictures https://picasaweb.google.com/102926550774641843992/ArmstrongQuakerLinoleumRug?authuser=0&feat=directlink

  3. Scott says

    The Cherry, Mint, and especially Daisy Styletone rugs are so stunning I audibly gasped. I know recreating that exact look would cost a fortune today but I am going to try to let these at the very least inspire me to not settle for a for a yawn-inducing floor as part of my upcoming cost-conscious kitchen makeover.

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