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Artificial Turf: The History, Revisited

Artificial Turf:
A History
By Mary Bellis

James M. Faria and
Robert T. Wright of Monsanto Industries co-invented Astroturf
(U.S. patent #3332828).

A patent for Astroturf was filed for on December 25, 1965 and issued by the
USPTO on July 25, 1967.

synthetic turf illustration astroturf

A Brief Timeline

1950s: The Ford Foundation studied ways to improve the physical fitness of young people. They observed that rural folks were more active and fit
than urban folks were. 
astroturf diagram of artificial turf system

 

 

Late 1950s: The Chemstrand Company, a subsidiary of Monsanto Industries were developing new synthetic fibers for use in carpeting. Monsanto was encouraging the use of carpets in schools in conjunction with the Ford Foundation’s Educational Facilities Laboratory, headed by Dr. Harold Gores.

Dr. Gores suggested that Chemstrand develop the perfect urban playing surface, Gores knew about both the Chemstrand synthetic fiber research and the Ford fitness studies.

1962 – 1966: The Creative Products Group, part of Chemstrand’s research organization worked on creating the new playing surface. The surface was tested for foot traction and cushioning, weather drainage, flammability and wear resistance.

first artificial grass field in the USA1964: The Creative Products Group installs a synthetic turf called Chemgrass at the Moses Brown School in Providence Rhode Island.

This was the first large-scale installation of a synthetic turf. 

 

 

 

1965: Judge Roy Hofheinz builds the AstroDome in Houston, Texas. Hofheinz consults Monsanto about replacing the natural grass with a new synthetic playing surface.

astroturf homeastroturf image of artificial turf system1966: The Houston Astros’ baseball season begins on a Chemgrass surface now renamed Astroturf at the AstroDome.

Fall 1966: The Houston Oilers’ AFL football season begins on more than 125,000 square feet of removable artificial turf (AstroDome).

1967: Indiana State University Stadium, in Terre Haute, Indiana becomes the first outdoor stadium installed with artificial turf.

1967: Artificial turf is patented (U.S. patent #3332828)original astroturf artificial turf patent

A patent for “monofilament ribbon file product” was issued to Wright and Faria, of Monsanto Industries.

 

From here, others have followed, bringing their own brand names and solutions into the market.

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