Tarella’s Early Floor Covering Revealed

On entering ‘The History of Linoleum’ into my computer, information from the Hagley Museum* (Hagley.Org) was almost at the top of the page.

It includes:
“Linoleum is a term used for a smooth floor covering made from a solidified mixture of linseed oil, flax, cork, wood flour and pigments, pressed between heavy rollers onto a canvas backing.
Linoleum was created in 1855 by an Englishman named Frederick Walton.
Only fourteen years after linoleum was invented, it had become a ubiquitous feature in homes and commercial buildings. Linoleum is considered to be the first product name to become a generic term.”

Many tempting site headings followed after Hagley’s:
-The History of Linoleum Flooring.
-Why People once Loved Linoleum.
-What lies beneath: the secret history of lino.
-A Lesson in Linoleum.
-Linoleum’s Luxurious History and Creative Renaissance.
-Kirkcaldy: Linoleum capital of the world.

Great! Lots of information. A good second step.
I was simply wanting know when this popular floor covering emerged because Tarella Cottage was built in 1890, and had linoleums possibly right from the start. (The other site stories will be bedtime reading).

The third step was working out the pattern on Tarella’s Linoleum.
This was achieved by having just enough of a chunk to analyse, resulting in the geometric and flower shapes on it coming to light. Determining colour is far more difficult, what seems brown may have been red. There is certainly white and orange visible.

It is difficult to know what, or how bright, the original colours were.

The fourth step will be taking the chunk, the drawing, and some Tarella history details to Macquarie Street Sydney, with confidence that the Caroline Simpson Library and Research Collection will shine extra light on it.

What was the first step? Yes. Carefully removing that small chunk. You’ll be pleased to know we left the better part in place.

The linoleum in place. It seems to go a good distance under the wall.

By Linsi Braith. Tarella Curator. October 15, 2020.

(*THE EVOLUTION OF LINOLEUM. Monday, March 19, 2018. https://www.hagley.org/librarynews/evolution-linoleum)