One can define artificial grass as a surface manufactured from synthetic fibers, to give it a natural-grass look. Also known as synthetic grass, fake grass, plastic grass and artificial turf, artificial grass has become a part of today’s lifestyle. It is commonly used in arenas for sports that were or are normally played on grass. The main reason why more and more fields are opting for artificial turf is that it resists heavy use better and does not require any irrigation or trimming. Though it has its own advantages and disadvantages, artificial grass is definitely worth using. Read through the following lines to know the history, origin and background of artificial grass or turf.
Interesting & Amazing Information On Origin & Background Of Artificial Turf
In the 1950s, the Ford Foundation observed that urban people were not as fit as their rural counterparts and thus, started seeking out ways to improve their fitness level. During the 1960s, the Chemstrand Company, a subsidiary of the Monsanto Industries, made a synthetic fiber that was used for making carpets and in athletic purposes. They were soon approached by Ford Foundation, which together with Chemstrand, found a solution for urban sports surfaces. Dr. Harold Gores headed the joint venture of Monsanto Industries and Ford Foundation’s Educational Facilities Laboratory.
Monsanto Industries made a nylon fiber that was filled in carpets and came to be known as ‘Astroturf’. Since then, it has been used in making playing fields. A lot of research was done by the research wing of Chemstrand on the artificial turf, testing its cushioning effect, effect of weather, drainage, wear and tear, flammability, and so on. The artificial grass was first installed at Moses Brown School of Providence, Rhode Island, in 1964. The grass came to be known as ‘Chemgrass’. In 1965, Judge Roy Hofheins built the Astrodome at Houston, Texas, where he got the natural grass replaced by artificial grass through Monsanto Industries.
The year 1966 saw the baseball season beginning on the ‘Astroturf’, the new name for artificial grass, at Astrodome. The same year, a football match was also held on the ‘Astroturf’ at Astrodome. The term ‘Astroturf’ was co-invented by James A. Faria and Robert T. Wright of Monsanto Industries. They applied for the patent on December 25, 1965 and finally got it on July 25, 1967. In the year 1967, Indiana State University at Terre Haute became the first outdoor stadium to have artificial grass installed. During the 1970s, artificial turf was a sand filled carpet, generally made from polypropylene. It had lower pile density than the original ones.
Astroturf Industry Inc. was formed in 1986. Different materials were used for making artificial grass & meant for different purposes. For field hockey and American football, field carpets were made from nylon. Sand filled turf was used for recreational and other sports activities. Eventually, shock pads were introduced to reduce injuries on the field. However, the turf was still too fast and harsh for any type of sports involving contact. A new type of artificial turf was created in the 1990s. It was made from long nylon fibers, which were filled with sand or rubber granules. This creation was better than the previous inventions, as it had more circulation, more cooling and less impact on falling.
Though soccer, rugby and hockey are all played on natural grass, other alternatives such as clay and sand are being considered. Recent years have seen many more improvements in the artificial grass and it has been used at various other playing fields. The main advantage of using artificial turf is that it can be used 24×7, without affecting the players’ performance. Other advantages are easy maintenance, environment-friendly nature and no watering needs. Apart from being used on playing fields, it can also be used in lawns, backyards, kennel or pet areas, schools and playing grounds.