1965 Armstong asbestos tile commercial

n 1860, Thomas M. Armstrong, the son of Scotish-Irish immigrants from Londonderry, joined with John D. Glass to open a one-room shop in Pittsburgh, Pe...


n 1860, Thomas M. Armstrong, the son of Scotish-Irish immigrants from Londonderry, joined with John D. Glass to open a one-room shop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, carving bottle stoppers from cork by hand. Their first deliveries were made in a wheelbarrow. He was a business pioneer in some respects: he branded each cork he shipped as early as 1864, and soon was putting a written guarantee in each burlap bag of corks he shipped from his big new factory. The company grew to be the largest cork supplier in the world by the 1890s. The company incorporated in 1891.

Cork began being displaced by other closures, but the company introduced insulating corkboard and brick. In 1906, two years before he died, Thomas Armstrong concluded that the solid foundation of the future was covered with linoleum, and construction began on a new factory in a cornfield at the edge of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In 1909, Armstrong linoleum was first offered to the trade.

After corkboard, the logical move was to fiberboard, and then to ceiling board. Cork tile and linoleum led to vinyl flooring, then ceramic tile, laminate flooring and carpeting.

Armstrong Holdings Inc. used to produce asbestos, either of two incombustible, chemical-resistant, fibrous mineral forms of impure magnesium silicate, used for fireproofing, electrical insulation, building materials, brake linings, and chemical filters, before they started to manufacture interior furnishings, however, on November 16, 2000 it was reported that Armstrong Holdings Inc. was facing about 173,000 asbestos personal injury claims that would cost between $758.8 million and $1.36 billion through 2006. They have filed bankruptcy because of all their asbestos liabilities.Armstrong no longer produces asbestos and now makes vinyl and wood flooring and other interior furnishings. In 2002 Armstrong Holdings Inc. was ranked number 86 on the Political Economy Research Institutes the “Toxic 100: Top Corporate Air Polluters in the United States” list. Armstrong now claims “We offer you a proud heritage of innovation, commitment to environmental sustainability, and operations based on integrity, respect, diversity, continuous improvement, and a passion for safety.”

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