History of Flooring

When you think about the history of flooring, deciding what material to lay on the floors inside of their homes has always been a big issue with people. Maybe not so much in the beginning, when we were tamping down the dirt in each room and calling it good. It was good when you have just come from living in a cave! Later however, people began to realize that tamped down dirt, no matter how hard you tamped that stuff down, was still, well, dirt.

As it turned out, human beings were pretty darn gross, especially when they were all huddled together in mud huts. Gloria Vanderbilt had yet to make her arrival on the manners scene so much of the food, drink and various bodily fluids of these early humans, unabashedly, landed on the floor of the hut. The packed dirt floor of the hut. Sorry, don’t mean to gross you out here but vomit, spit, urine, (Hey, you name it!) ended up on the floor in those days. The women of those first homes then experienced a great epiphany… They would be cleaning that up.

Simultaneously, women realized that packed dirt floors could not stand up to the type of abuse they were getting. You can imagine that much of the time, mainly during dinner, these dirt floors were turned into mud. And you just can’t clean mud. So we, or rather women, started throwing dried plant material, such as reeds around on the floors in an effort to “soak up” our offensive, human wastes, spilled food and drink, and here is where we will stop considering what other substances would have ended up on the floor in those days. These reeds were called “rushes” and they created a sort of absorptive, disposable flooring that was meant to be changed and freshened often.

The rushes protected the packed dirt floor from turning into mud, well sort of, and if we, I mean women changed them often enough the smell of your home would not bring tears to the eyes of your guests or cause them to become infested with lice. Boy, those were the days! But we have moved ahead and after centuries of improvements, we are still trying to figure out how to get that “whatever” off the floor. Seriously, now! Before the stain has a chance to set in. Well, those days are a thing of the past, you will be happy to know.

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