January 15th, 2018

The History of Artificial Turf

Premier: Artificial Turf was first inspired in the 1950's by the Ford Fitness Studies when they took a note from the U.S. Army and decided to study ways to improve the physical fitness of young people. During the Korean War, the U.S. Army observed that urban recruits were less physically fit than rural recruits. They concluded that the reason for this was due to a lack of green spaces in the cities, in contrast to more wide-open spaces in rural areas. Consequently, the Ford Foundation funded research for Monsanto to find a way to replicate real grass into a fake grass application[1].

The Perfect Urban Playing Surface

The Creative Product Group, a development wing of the Chemstrand Company (subsidiary of Monsanto) started development of a new synthetic fiber for use in carpeting. Chemstrand was at one time the largest manufacturer of synthetic fiber that was used in carpets, rugs and other synthetic fiber applications. They encouraged the development of the perfect urban playing surface for use of carpets in schools in order to incourage young people to be more active year-round.

The First Artificial Grass Application

Artificial turf grass was first used in the year 1964. Referred to as "ChemGrass," it was installed on a prep school recreational play area in Providence, RI. The idea was so that the children could play outside all year round without getting their clothes dirty. It was the first commercial synthetic grass installation in the world[2].

The Astro Dome

Shortly after the first installation of ChemGrass, Monsanto was asked to install their ChemGrass in the Astro Dome in Houston, TX. The application to the Astro Dome was a big success, and on July 25, 1967, a patent[3] was issued for artificial grass by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and synthetic grass was officially introduced to the world as "AstroTurf."

[1] ref: https://www.astroturf.com/about-synthetic-turf/astroturf-history/

[2] ref: https://agpgrass.com/uncategorized/the-history-of-artificial-grass/

[3] ref: https://www.google.com/patents/US3332828#v=onepage&q&f=false

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