ARMSTRONG’S WAY WAY OVER THE TOP EXAMPLES

Could we ever love the Armstrong Floors scrapbook’s  “over the top”  examples?  They make me think of Judy Garland singing to the picture of  Clark Gable on her dresser.

What is it about style?  Half of this book is amazing for its currency, part of it stimulates new ideas, and part of it should be submerged at the bottom of a pool.  Maybe simple, elegant, classic ideas rise to the top and are reinvented again and again.  They have merit and they continually prove it.  The chaff just blows away, never to be seen again.  Unless it isn’t time yet.  Shall we wait ten years?

1-pink and blue

Where do I start?  It has been my opinion most of the time that all color goes with all color.  But this pink and blue?  Maybe it is the fuzzy rug and the toilet seat we all remember from the 60s. Maybe this is the actual first sighting of this pair and we are at least ten years from that decade.  History is being made!  And Scott Joplin‘s piano bench as a bath accessory?  Or maybe the whole thing looks bad because the artist and magazine did not take the time to colorize the lino floor in this example. What were they thinking?  Looking closer, the walls are not colorized, nor are some of the stripes.   This looks like student work.

1-dining room

Ok, two points make a line, by bias is fully evident!  Another pink and blue.  The linoleum may be a kind of tour de force, but this looks like the Barbie furniture I used to have, and we have all grown out of that.  The only thing positive about this room is that one’s skin would simply glow as an effect of those gauzy pink curtains.  Not worth it.

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Suffice it to say that if you have to throw a piece of clothing on the bed to balance a composition, you are in trouble.  I am getting picky now.  Those brass lamps have not been colorized.  My Barbie set also included a wardrobe like this one.

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The little blue chair at the back looks interesting, and the floral in the front as well.  For the rest of the room, simply apply earlier comments.

Having more of these, I think it best to confine this post to the pink and blue.

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CHAIRS OF THE 1940s and 1950s

From the Armstrong Linoleum scrapbook that has occupied my last two posts, there are so many details that one could concentrate upon.  Having sooooo many chairs and loveseats, gliders and lawn chairs around here, I even had to refuse a fine offer from one of my high school peeps after she read the last post.   Space is tough when you collect chairs, and even tougher when you collect old dinette sets, which I do.

The chairs in this scrapbook are wonderful.

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We have six chairs in pink that look much like the chairs here at the card table.  I bought them for five bucks each at the local flea market, and was told they came from an old restaurant.  Their “hides” are textural plastic, soft not brittle.  FYI the photos in this scrapbook are colorized, so they do not photograph distinctly.

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Actually, ours are more stylish than the ones pictured because of the single element supporting the back, but both examples feature backs that wrap around the body.  Ours are bent wood examples, so are the lino chairs, but to a lesser degree.  The cutout areas in our chairs are so nice.

1-kitchen window

This colorized kitchen photographed pretty well.  Red lines are the unifying characteristic here, and the black walls in the back of the room add mass with all the windows in use.  The Armstrong Linoleum floor is constructed: a red line divides two different patterns being used, which in turn define the different work and eating areas.    As with other photos in my little scrapbook, there is a surreal sense to the outside landscape.  These advertisements, created during WWII, provide a sense of harmony and peace which was the exact opposite of the conflict between the Allies and the Axis powers.

We have four chairs that are similar to the red kitchen chairs pictured above.  They came from Habitat for Humanity in Raleigh NC years ago.  They have a body hugging wooden back supported by two elements  from the black leather seat.  It is the biggest chair below.

1-many chairs

Behind this chair is the red kitchen chair from the previous post.  Behind that are two totally aluminum chairs from WW II.  These have an interesting story:  they are very light since they are aluminum and therefore they were made to use in submarines.

Their brand is Emeco.  They are called Emeco Navy Chairs.  Just looked up their price, 455.00 apiece.

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1-set of emeco chairs

Looking at this group in the studio, there is one aluminum chair with padding, probably for a higher officer.

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Paid a dollar for this chair at a garage sale.

MORE FROM THE ARMSTRONG LINOLEUM SCRAPBOOK

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.

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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!

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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.

HISTORICAL PRIVATE ARMSTRONG LINOLEUM SCRAPBOOK

Armstrong's Carpet and Linoleum Co
Armstrong’s Carpet and Linoleum Co (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

Oh man, cleaning out an attic can be like Christmas.  My friend GAVE me this little jewel of an idea book from the fifties (guessing from the look of the appliances in the pictures), of decorating concepts featuring Armstrong Linoleum.  The book is a physical representation of a business idea of Dorothy Teal who signs her name in an interesting calligraphy.  She wants to make studio apartments where one room serves many purposes.

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The front cover of the book has a wonderful dog profile on it which probably is the first reason my friend acquired this (the lines behind the book are on my deco enamel kitchen table, sorry).

Continuing with bad photography, here is one of the first pages in the book, and many of the lino ideas feature this kind of yin/yang composition.

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The tub and sink in this photo definitely look like the decade of the fifties.  Within all the activity in this room, the lino composition helps to define a work area.  Looks like a school locker has been re-purposed to hold bathroom necessities.  Great idea.  Love the red and white stripe of the sock against the composition in the linoleum.

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Just amazed by these pictures.  Here the detail in the linoleum serves to organize an area even as a “light” wall bisects it.  Again the yin/yang thing.  I wonder if this was the time period where the West became familiar with that Chinese concept.  Also, lino is applied to the little desk, the tiny kitchen table and the counter top.  All help organize a complex composition.

1-true studio

Here, almost all activities are in one room.  Notice the tiny bunk beds in a niche at the left.  Looks like a gateleg table makes a small elegant dining area, and the kitchen is in another small niche.  There is an allover pattern in the linoleum this time, with rugs in certain areas to define use in the room.  The rug on the right defines the living area, and on the left, the bedroom area.  The old 33 1/3 record helps define our time period.

More of this to come.  Haven’t even gotten to the best pictures yet!  Or the most unusual compositions made with Armstrong Linoleum.