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(lĭnō`lēəm), resilient floor or wall covering made of burlap, canvas, or felt, surfaced with a composition of wood flour, oxidized linseed oil, gums or other ingredients, and coloring matter. An English rubber manufacturer, Frederick Walton, patented linoleum in 1863. It replaced Kamptulicon, a costly rubber composition. In the manufacture of linoleum, linseed oil is exposed to the air in a succession of thin films until it is of a rubbery consistency, or it is thickened by heating until it becomes a spongy mass, after which it is ground, mixed with pulverized wood and other ingredients, and then applied to the foundation and rolled smooth. The final process is a thorough seasoning in drying rooms. In inlaid linoleum the pattern is built up from the base in the colors of the design and is therefore permanent. Linoleum is made in several thicknesses and in the form of tiles. It is sometimes surfaced with a durable pyroxylin lacquer. Although large amounts of linoleum are still produced, other materials such as vinyl are now more widely used as floor coverings.
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1. A green surface composite made from organic, biodegradable materials consisting of linseed oil as the binder, lime as the filler, and organic pigments as the color for the material. Natural fibers such as jute are used for stabilizing the material. Organic linoleum has significantly low-embodied energy, creates little waste during manufacturing, does not require constant maintenance, and can be fully recycled and reused. It has very low-VOC emissions when installed with low-VOC adhesives, and it does not contain formaldehyde, asbestos, or plasticizers. See also: Biomaterials
2. A resilient flooring product developed in the 1800s, manufactured from cork flour, linseed oil, oak dust, and jute. Linoleum’s durability, renewable inputs, antistatic properties, and easy-to-clean surface often make it classified as a “green” building material.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a polymeric floor covering in roll form.

Industrial production of linoleum began in 1864 in Great Britain. Linoleum was originally produced from vegetable oils (linseed, sunflower, and tung oil), cork powder, and other materials applied to a fabric (jute) substrate (it was called glyptal linoleum). In the 1950’s glyptal linoleum was replaced by polyvinyl chloride linoleum because of a shortage of vegetable raw materials (vegetable oils). The new type of linoleum became the most widely used material.

A distinction is made among polyvinyl chloride, glyptal (al-kyd), colloxylin (nitrolinoleum), and rubber (relin) types of linoleum, depending on the basic raw material (binder). Linoleum may be without a substrate (single-layer and multilayer) or with a reinforcing substrate (Pergamyn or fabric) or a sound-insulating substrate. It is produced in plain or multicolored forms (marble-finished, speckled, or patterned).

Linoleum is produced in the form of rolls, which may be 6–20 m long, up to 2 m wide, 1.5–4.0 mm thick. It is attached to a smoothed base by means of polymeric mastics and adhesives. Linoleum floors are sanitary, noise-free, wear-resistant, easy to install, attractive in appearance, and easy to maintain.

Linoleum on a heat- and sound-insulating substrate is used in large-scale housing construction, since it may be installed directly on concrete surfaces. Efficient use of polyvinyl chloride linoleum is achieved through installation of wall-to-wall coverings by joining linoleum panels by hot air welding (using a welding gun) or high-frequency current.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A floor covering made by applying a mixture of gelled linseed oil, pigments, fillers, and other materials to a burlap backing, and curing to produce a hard, resilient sheet.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A resilient floor-covering material made by combining an oxidized linseed-oil binder and ground cork and bonding to a burlap or canvas backing; relatively low in cost; has poor stain resistance and low abrasion and dent resistance.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.