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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] for urban and inner-city areas.

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 encourage 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 Astrodome

Opening in 1965, artificial grass was only one of the marvels of this iconic structure. It was the world's first air conditioned stadium that was completely enclosed on all sides with a rounded vault-like or "domed" roof. And with 18 stories[3], it has been a hub of entertainment for the people of Houston in past decades, most notably the Houston Astros baseball team, Houston Oilers and Houston Texans football teams. Mainly serving as a multipurpose sports arena, history has proven that the astrodome could easily cater to other events as well, including conventions, rodeos and concerts. Even performances from the king of rock n' roll Elvis, and Evil Knievil's legendary motorcycle jump.

Shortly after the first installation of ChemGrass, Monsanto was asked to install their ChemGrass in the Astrodome. The application to the Astrodome was a big success, and on July 25, 1967, a patent[4] was issued for artificial grass by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and synthetic grass was officially introduced to the world as "AstroTurf."

The Astrodome got its own Texas State Historical Marker in 2018, signifying it as a Texas Historic landmark for its architectural and cultural significance. [5] Please continue reading with "Does Artificial Turf Help The Environment"

[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://savingplaces.org/places/the-astrodome?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1f-Y1bS26AIVzuDICh3INQ4REAAYASAAEgLK8_D_BwE#.Xnu4N4hKiUk

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

[5] ref: https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/The-Astrodome-got-some-new-shiny-bling-Tuesday-12952282.php

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