Walton, Frederick

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fl. 1860s Chiswick, Middlesex, England
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English inventor and early manufacturer of linoleum.
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Walton's linoleum consisted of a burlap base coated with a cement made from linseed oil, gum, resin and colour pigments. The linseed oil was oxidized in order to produce a rubbery consistency, and this was achieved either by adding the oil to the burlap in a series of coats, allowing each coat to dry in a heated room and so absorb the oxygen from the atmosphere, or by inserting the product into a steam-heated container, thereby hastening the process. The coated fabric was then calendered so that the heat and pressure of the rollers would soften the coating mixture, making it adhere firmly to the fabric backing. On 19 December 1863 Walton applied for a patent for the manufacture of his invention at British Grove Works in Chiswick, Middlesex. The patent was granted on 31 May 1864 for "Improvements in the Manufacture of Floor Cloths and Coverings and Similar Fabrics and in Pavements". Later in 1864 Walton set up a factory in Staines.
The term linoleum derives from the Latin words linum, meaning linen thread, and oleum, meaning oil. Linoleum was made in rolls in everincreasing quantity until about 1950, by which time it was being replaced by synthetic vinyl-type coverings.
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Further Reading
See "Linoleum" in Children's Britannica, Chicago, Ill.: Encyclopaedia Britannica, and in Encyclopaedia Americana, Danbury, Conn.: Americana.
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Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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