Linoleum’s Luxurious History and Creative Renaissance

From Titanic Tiles to Picasso’s Putty, the Practical Flooring Has a Surprisingly Enchanting Backstory

Zócalo’s editors are highlighting some of our favorite pieces from the archive. This week, we’re revisiting writer Hattie Jean Hayes’ history of the once-ubiquitous, “softer than metal, less brittle than wood” floor covering: linoleum.

Some things in modern life are so common they become indispensable, inescapable, and, if you have the right attitude, enchanting.

Like linoleum.

On a date in downtown Kansas City, my companion and I found ourselves outside a custom linoleum shop. Having exhausted our life stories and mutual interests, we were in a conversational …