Looking for an attractive, affordable, durable alternative to pricy granite? Have you thought about Formica?
Our PATCO design / build team got an eye-popping lesson in modern age Formica while at the International Builders Show last month. Things sure have changed since the repeat "boomerang" pattern that many of us are familiar with from childhood.
What is Formica, anyway?
In 1912, two young Cincinnati electrical engineers, Daniel O'Conor and Herbert Faber, discovered that high-pressure plastic resins could replace the mineral mica in insulation material for electrical parts. A little resin 101: Pine sap is a type of resin found in nature, while plastics are synthetic resins made from petroleum. How did the name “Formica” come to be? O'Conor and Faber needed a substitute "for" mica, so they swapped in the plastic resins, which led to the company name – you guessed it – Formica. The material was patented in 1913, and they started their own business.
By 1931-1949, thanks to its colorful appearance and durable, cigarette-proof design, Formica became a popular option for the interiors of cafes, nightclubs, railway cars and luxury ocean liners, such as the RMS Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth 2. As the United States entered World War II, the company focused on military production, creating bomb parts and wooden airplane propellers, until the war ended in 1945.
After the war, during the 1950's, Americans enjoyed a new prosperity. In the housing boom that came with it, Formica laminates popped up all over the country in suburban kitchens and dinettes. Sales soared to $24 million. During 1960's and 80's, Formica laminates became symbolic of a modern lifestyle and began expanding worldwide.
The early 2000's were a real turning point for the product: Formica went Green. The product achieved significant milestones toward becoming a more environmentally friendly enterprise, using paper from recycled sources and sustainable softwood forests.
In 2013, Formica celebrated its 100th birthday and a new tagline: Formica. For Real. With more than 100 years of design under its belt, Formica isn't your grandmother's laminate anymore. It's the same great durable and affordable product, but it's more attractive and versatile than ever.
180fx® marks a revolution in surfacing with true-to-scale granite patterns that offer visual drama unmatched by any other laminate. Modern, sophisticated high resolution patterns focus on a neutral palette – versatile enough to pair with any interior design concept. CHECK IT OUT HERE.
Formica Writable Surfaces are as practical as they are inspirational, while providing the perfect platform to stay connected, manage schedules, play a game or just create. Not only are Formica® Writable Surfaces durable and require simple maintenance, but also offer a consistently smooth finish that is not easily achieved through other writable products. TAKE A LOOK.
The evolution of Formica perfectly illustrates how products that have been around for ages can change dramatically, fitting perfectly into today's trendy design styles. Texture is HUGE with designers today, Formica can mimic anything from wood to stone - even industrial steel - allowing homeowners to break out of traditional surface "looks", without breaking the bank!