Nowadays, commercial artificial grass is far from an uncommon sight in back gardens and sports pitches the world over. The synthetic textile seems to well and truly have won space over its herbal counterpart, with traits such as its durability and ease of maintenance endearing it to the general public.
Time was, however, when the scenario was markedly difference. Outside of a sporting context, commercial artificial grass was regarded as tacky and an inferior substitute for the real thing, and even if used to cover playing surfaces for sports it was far from consensual.
In the midst of all the disapproval, however, turf always had a few admirers, and it is them who are largely responsible for its eventual growth and success. This article harks back to a time before commercial artificial grass existed, to give an overview of its origin, evolution and eventual rise to popularity worldwide.
The origins of business artificial grass date back to sixties America. The textile was first researched and devised by a team of scientists from the North Carolina State University College of Textiles, under the supervision of the dean himself, David Chaney. Together, these men came up with a textile which looked and felt a little bit comparable to grass, but without any of the shortcomings this textile possesses; in short, what is nowadays known as turf.
Having created and perfected this textile for optimal performance, Chaney and his team began searching for parties potentially interested in a test run. It did not take them long at all to find a considerably prominent guinea-pig, in the form of baseball team the Houston Astros, based out of the city of a similar name in Texas. In 1966, the Astros home field, the Astrodome, became the first sports pitch in the world to be covered in commercial artificial grass. It was the beginning of a story which would only go uphill from there.
Once commercial artificial grass had demonstrated its mettle as the playing surface for the Astros, and become known as Astroturf as a result, other sports team owners across North American began taking an interest in the textile. The late sixties and early 1970s would see synthetic turf carpets spread across both major and minor league baseball fields, and eventually make their way into American football stadiums as well. Franklin Field, home to the Philadelphia Eagles and the University of Pennsylvania varsity football team, was the first venue to feature commercial artificial grass, but other pitches would soon follow suit, extra cementing awareness for the textile in public consciousness.
As popular as it was becoming with sports fans, however, commercial artificial grass still had one hurdle left to jump: the residential and landscaping market. Among home-owners, turf continued to be considered an affordable-looking, shoddy textile, not at all an alternative to a real grass lawn. This generalised opinion stemmed from the first few artificial turf carpets looking a little bit less than realistic, as well as from the materials connotation with lower-income homes. As such, commercial artificial grass faced a challenge when trying to prove its worth in the home market.
This challenge would eventually be overcome, but not for another two decades. It was not till the 1990s, more than twenty-five years after it had first been invented, that commercial artificial grass finally won traction as a valid alternative within the home and garden market. This was largely by reason of the vastly improved appearance and realism point of progressive turf carpets on the subject of their predecessors, which helped do away with many of the concerns and prejudices keeping commercial artificial grass from establishing itself a landscaping alternative.
For the following two decades, commercial artificial grass saw its popularity continue to rise, till it could stand side by side with herbal grass. Nowadays, lots of people even imagine the textile complicated to its herbal counterpart, at the least for distinct programs, and it is expectable that this style will continue in years to come. It is interesting, however, to consider a time when commercial artificial grass was not as popular as it is at this time, and to learn exactly how it came to obtain its present standing in society.