As follow up to my post yesterday – with a round up of all the laminates for bathroom counters that are on my radar today – I also recently found this great little history of laminate in the 1950s, from Wilsonart. 2011 update, Wilsonart has taken story down, but here are a few highlights:

  • Laminate was so popular in the 50s, that a chrome-and-metal dinette cost four-times more than a wood dinette.
  • Plastic laminate was desirable for its impermeability – easy to clean up.
  • Another reason for the bright, exuberant colors of the 50s: Colors were rationed in the 40s during the war, when the color du jour was battleship gray.
  • Speckled laminate — also known as lame’ — was made with real glitter, which was invented in the 30s.
  • Marble and wood-grain were popular – with many choices still available today.


  1. John K says:

    I am on a mission with Wilson Art to reintroduce Speckled Lame laminate for counter tops. They told me that it is much less expensive for them these days to simply print a pattern on laminate. They do not get into more expensive processes anymore such as Speckled Lame which is not printed but actually an inclusion of gold flecks in the overlay sheet. But they also tell me that if there becomes a big enough audience for Speckled Lame they might consider doing a new version of it. I would buy sheets and sheets of it but I am only one guy. Anyone else out there who would buy it???? Please let me know so I can tell Wilson Art in my next communication with them.

    1. pam kueber says:

      I do not sell anything here. You must go to the websites of the manufacturers/retailers identified in the story.

  2. Alana in Canada says:

    Hello Pam. Just wanted to let you know that the link above is no longer active. Instead, you’re re directed to the home page of an e-zine by Wilson.

  3. lacy lahman says:

    Hoping someone can help with my countertop research. Our 46 house had a Late 70s remodel where the robin egg blue laminate counters were covered in florida tile. My husband, who usually shakes his head at me, says removing the tile is an insane job plus would leave the laminate unuseable. Any ideas where I can post a pic of re laminate to ask for help identifying a close replacement?

  4. Anne Marie says:

    I am trying to find a supplier of 1950’s benchtop lamite, that will ship to New Zealand…can anyone help??

  5. Connie Long says:

    I am hoping someone has some information on aluminum trims to be used with laminates?
    I have tried Schluter Systems but their produts are all geared for tile and are too large.

  6. jeff laurie says:

    I am hoping someone out there can please tell me they know where to buy “cracked ice” laminate, cant see it on formica site, any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks, Jeff.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Jeff, try places like But, it’s very expensive there, I am told….

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