My husband figured out why the photos in my Armstrong Linoleum scrapbook are so difficult to re-photograph for here.  They are colorized.  Therefore, there is no perfect concurrency between the contour of the object and its local color.  Nicely done, they cannot be near perfect.

Every time the book is opened, new pages appear.  Now I know a little bit about them.  They are from the back of the front cover of Ladies Home Journal; the paper is very thick.  As far as dating them, here is a paragraph that is repeated often in the captions: “Your linoleum merchant will help you plan an equally smart floor, even though his (only HIS?) selection is limited these days. “.  So these were the war years, WWII, when these ideas emerged in magazines.

1-red kitchen

The  marks on the linoleum and the red handles on the cabinets are having so much fun together!  This is an energetic composition led by the use of the color red which always gets our passions moving.  Love the Venetian blinds.  They always make me feel so comfortable.  I have an early early memory of slits of sun across a floor.

1-red chair

Another kitchen/laundry room with a great pattern of glass blocks under the cabinets on either side. Look at the ironing system!  Rollers, or is that simply a water extractor?  My grandmother had one in no way this grand in her basement.  Although I love the idea of a “constructed” linoleum rug within another pattern of linoleum, it feels odd to me not to see all four edges, especially with that tri color border.  Look how it blazes!  It makes one wonder if color shots of these rooms would look at all like this.  The colorizing makes the environment all feel so surreal.  Out the back door window feels like a landscape from Oz.  During the war, maybe this kind of escapism was necessary.

I own this red chair.  Below is the difference in reproduction.  Other details are not true in the above rendering.  Look at the seat of the blue and yellow chairs and their depth.  Now the red.  It has been played with for some reason.  My chair is like the blue and yellow ones.

1-my chair

So now I have a better approximation of the date of the pair of red chairs here.  Wartime.  Paid five dollars for the two of them years ago.  Don’t ever stand on a chair like this to reach something; you have been warned.  This one has been photographed in front of a hand painted wall in my studio.

1-kitchen three

Another kitchen with huge doors to store tools, utensils, as the first kitchen.  A similar pattern to the previous two, but with at least one more shape added within the repeat, makes it much busier.  This room seemed pretty ordinary to me until the detail shot with the doors closed was inserted.  See on the right side of the open door?  A farmer’s field has been furrowed and new plantings are starting to create line.  A sky represented by the edges of clouds is included at the top.

OK, so the above image with the doors closed is really hard to see.  But as ART, it is so important for the time period.  First we see the agricultural environment, and then we see, with the doors closed, a neighborhood forming!


Boomer heaven! Happy, happy, joy, joy the war is over and we are all going to be so blessed in our little spaces where as far as one can see, there are little happy houses just like ours!  Who wouldn’t feel that way after cruising through bombed out Europe for several years?  And who wouldn’t like to have a fabulous reminder like this in their kitchen?  It is the physical embodiment of what the government promised to all the GIs.


  1. Wonderful essay, Lee. It is interesting that all of the rooms featured have kitchen, laundry and storage facilities in one space. My parents owned a house like that. The house was built right after the war as ‘affordable housing’.
    The common name for the ironing rollers was a “mangle”. My mom had one and she loved to run the dried but sprinkled laundry through that thing. It was hot and would iron everything like a steam roller. It did a great job on sheets but shirts and jeans not so good. There were creases everywhere on our shirts but they were washed, dried and ironed by golly !

  2. i have heard that word “mangle”. there must have been a way to fold the shirt before inserting it right? and if you did not do it correctly, you mangled the shirt?

  3. Dear Lee,
    Your ideas and work seem to bring old to new. Keep up the good works!
    Jim Monastra-Mr. Organizer Lexington, Ohio

  4. jim, great to see your name here! thanks for taking the time to read. hope you all are in the middle of a great holiday season. we were at judy’s last night. hello to the folks and merry christmas!

  5. Pingback: CHAIRS OF THE 1940s and 1950s « Waste as a Way of Life

  6. Pingback: ARMSTRONG’S WAY WAY OVER THE TOP EXAMPLES « Waste as a Way of Life

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