Nature on a roll – the manufacture of linoleum

The material that rooms are made of

Delmenhorst: A small town in the Oldenburg region, far removed from the bustling metropolises of this world. For centuries, it was a centre of cork processing, surrounded by fields and meadows in which contented cows grazed. Who would have thought that this tranquil little place would prepare the ground for innumerable buildings – and for architectural milestones throughout the world.

The product that is developed and produced here, and at all of DLW Flooring’s other almost unknown sites in the best Made-in-Germany manner, provides a stylish foundation for the most spectacular buildings. It is used, for example, in Paris, Copenhagen and Berlin, Milan and Barcelona. Not to mention New York and Shanghai. Although these cities that never sleep and the production sites of DLW may be worlds apart in many ways, when it comes to architecture and design, the floor coverings produced here have enjoyed international acclaim for many years now.

One major reason for this success lies in an unbeatable connection: that of internationality and proximity, which offers business partners the greatest possible advantages. They benefit from advice at the level of equals, incorporating both global market knowledge and a product range that is precisely adapted to regional requirements. They also enjoy a partnership where proximity counts and which, wherever possible, also relies on sustainable production using supplies from the region.

With linoleum, the modern lifestyle gained traction. Gropius and Mies van der Rohe were among the first to appreciate the material made from linseed oil, resin, wood and cork flour, limestone and jute. After all, the floor covering consists almost entirely of renewable raw materials and has an excellent environmental footprint.

Production of DLW Linoleum

However, many production steps are required before the sheets of linoleum can be installed on the floor. For more than 150 years, the floor covering has been manufactured to an almost unchanged recipe. The television programme Galileo visited Germany’s only linoleum factory in Delmenhorst and followed the production of the classic material.

Watch on Galileo TV…

Discovery of linoleum

In the 1860s, Frederick Walton was experimenting with fast-drying dyes. In the process, he discovered a firm, rubbery layer of oxidised linseed oil on the tin. After multiple attempts and the addition of further substances, he finally produced the first linoleum in 1863.

Linoleum: composition

In addition to linseed oil, linoleum is made up of further natural raw materials: wood or cork flour, ground limestone, natural resins and pigments. Jute is used as the backing material. Due to its hard-wearing nature, linoleum was a widely-used floor covering into the 1950s. However, with the advent of more cost-effective PVC, carpet and prefabricated parquet, linoleum became increasingly forgotten.

In the 1980s, as public awareness of environmental issues rose, linoleum, as a natural product, became attractive once again: the environmentally-friendly and compostable floor covering was exactly right for that time. For some years now, linoleum has been enjoying a comeback as a timelessly simple, natural and high-quality floor covering.

Im Presshaus für Inlaid-Linoleum, 1930

Linoleum - the natural flooring - made in GermanyLinoleum is the uncompromising classic of the DLW product portfolio, with this range including more than fifty different floorings that were developed in the company’s design studios and are manufactured in its production halls. From there, they make their way throughout the whole world. What does it matter then that their place of origin is only a tiny spot on the map.