Though synthetic grass may seem like a relatively newer grass product of the era, it has been around since the mid twentieth century. Its creation was motivated by the desire for the new generation to become physically fit and healthy. Synthetic grass would thus be used for fitness and athletic purposes in the beginning. It was the Ford Foundation in the 1950’s that advocated this campaign for fitness, strongly among urban people who were not as fit as the younger rural society.
It was a subsidiary of Monsanto Industries that first created the fibers of synthetic grass to be used as a surface for school fields that would help to encourage athleticism and fitness among the young generation. In the 1960’s, Monsanto Industries went on to make one of the first highly identified synthetic grass surfaces, setting it apart from simple grass-like carpets. This product would later be recognized as one of the pioneering artificial grass brands.
The company Chemstrand began to do both experiments and research on synthetic grass. Their aim was to uncover characteristics based on factors like heat, cushioning, effects of the environment and weather conditions, flammability, and durability. In 1964, the very first public artificial grass installation was done in Providence, Rhode Island. The Moses Brown School’s installation employed the use putting green houston of Chemgrass, another early synthetic grass prototype. This was one of the first large-scale installations ever performed at the time.
Shortly after, in 1966, Chemgrass was installed in the AstroDome stadium, home of the baseball team, the Houston Astros. This is where it was named “Astroturf” by John A. Wortmann. In the same year, the AFL football season commenced for the Houston Oilers. The game was played on 125,000 feet of AstroTurf. Indiana State University became the very first outdoor stadium to have AstroTurf installed the next year. After applying for the patent in 1965, they finally received it in 1967. Later, in the 1970’s, artificial grass began to be engineered with polypropylene. This is also when the concept of infill began to take form. The artificial grass carpets then began to have a layer of sand to act as the infill. This provided a layer of cushioning, as well as a layer to keep the grass blades upright.
In the 1980’s, artificial grass expanded its use to other athletic venues, such as football and recreational areas. In order to attempt to minimize the risk of injury, shock pads were used during this time. Even with shock pads, however, the artificial turf of this time seemed to be too fast for contact sports. It would later undergo several technological improvements that would only aid in creating a suitable performance surface for contact sports. The 1990’s were a monumental time for artificial turf, as its uses expanded to contact sports, fields, recreational areas, landscaping for home and business, and more. A breakthrough drainage system even allows families and businesses with pets to use synthetic grass. The history of artificial grass has involved several notable strides in technology and uses, deeming it to be a cutting-edge and multipurpose surface that is suitable for all.