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Vintage linen laminates — 12 colors in my collection of 1950s sample chips

linen laminate retroLinen laminates were among the most popular in the 1950s — I will even surmise the most popular choice for kitchen and bathroom countertops. Continuing to fill out our historical archive, I organized my collection of vintage laminate sample ships… pulled out the document linens… and scanned. Today — close ups of 12 colorways of linen laminate — eight from Formica, four from Textolite. Above: Formica Green Linen — which I am betting was the most popular color. This green is perfect for a midcentury kitchen with wood kitchen cabinets. Sigh.

linen laminate retroAbove: Formic Tan Linen laminate. Note the weave of the Formica. It is not too sharp / edgy. My “problem” with the linen laminates on the market today is that they are too pokey-looking — sharp-edged industrial rather than soft-edged domestic.

linen laminate retro

Above: Formica Primrose Linen laminate.

In her thesis — the best most comprehensive history of Formica and its patterns that I know of — materials expert Grace Jeffers (and good friend) says that Linen was one of the first patterns that Formica introduced after World War II. It was instantly popular.

linen laminate retro

Above: Formica Powder Blue Linen laminate.
linen laminate retroAbove: Formica Pink Petal Linen laminate.

Super mega thanks to Robert of ElectraChime for sending me the box of Formica paper samples that this pink chip came from. What a generous contribution to my archives! xoxo

linen laminate retroAbove: Formica Lipstick Red Linen laminate.

linen laminate retro

Above: Formica Gray Linen laminate.

linen laminate retroAbove: Formica Charcoal Linen laminate.

Textolite Linen Laminates:

linen laminate retroAbove: Textolite Daffodil Linen Laminate.

I have only four samples of Textolite linen laminates. It’s hard to tell from such small samples, but it appears the patterns are different — I’d say the Textolite linen weave is less tight… with more chunkies simulating natural irregularities you’d find in a linen thread. I like the Textolite pattern better than the Formica pattern but, seriously, this is splitting hairs. Or threads.

linen laminate retro

Above: Textolite Tan Linen Laminate.

linen laminate retro Above: Textolite Panama Linen Laminate.
linen laminate retro

Above: Textolite Gray Linen laminate.

Six places to find linen look laminates today:

CategoriesCountertops
  1. Tara says:

    I have about 5 1/2 pieces of that 50’s green linen formica (color # 106) about 22 inches deep x 5 feet long. They were something my dad salvaged in the 70’s and they were literally peeled off of countertops.

    I’d like to use them on my kitchen countertop renovation but at 22 inches deep they’re not deep enough, so I’d be forced to piece a few of them together to cover the countertops.

    I’m torn about it, since I love the color more than the modern reproductions (which annoyingly they call “green linen”, but are darker). Do you think they are sellable as scraps for people who are looking for the real thing? They are perfectly useable as countertops of bench tops that are only 22 inches deep…

  2. Hope Mock says:

    Must be nice to be Prada! Check out their Bar Luce in Milan, there’s Formica Green Linen all over the place…how did they get that?

  3. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Darn! They are closed Tuesdays, and that’s the day I always fly to Milan. 🙂

  4. Hope Mock says:

    I agree that no current retro laminates hold a candle to these babies. Time for Formica to re-produce them for the masses!

  5. Torrence says:

    I would be interested in purchasing. This would be an miraculous surprise to a lady that has a vision, in a fairy tale love story restoration

  6. Pam Kueber says:

    Hi Torrence, I discourage buying/selling in the comment threads as that would become chaos. Also note, Tara’s comment is from 2016 so the materials may be long gone.

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