Frederick Edward Walton (13 March 1834 – 16 May 1928), was an English manufacturer and inventor whose invention of Linoleum in Chiswick was patented in 1863. He also invented Lincrusta in 1877.
Walton was born in 1834, near Halifax. His father James Walton was a successful inventor and business owner from Haughton Dale near Manchester, where he owned the Haughton Dale Mill, which supplied wire for James's successful carding business. Frederick was educated at Horton School, in Bradford and at the Wakefield Proprietary School.
Waltons and Sons
In 1855, Frederick joined his father James and brother William in the family wire card-making business of Walton and Sons, in Haughton Dale. He spent much of his time working on new techniques for the business. In 1856, he was granted his first patent for wire brushes with ornamental backings. In 1857, he discovered how to solidify linseed oil, which was to lead to his most famous invention. However he also disagreed with his father about, the value of his experimentation. later in 1857, they dissolved the partnership and Frederick moved to Hammersmith, where he set up his own company to continue his work.
Invention of Linoleum
In 1860, he established an experimental factory in Chiswick where he worked on oxidisation of linseed oil, for which he was granted a patent in 1860. He experimented with the oxidized oil as a replacement for rubber. He discovered that combining the oil with cork and colouring agents produced a useful material for floor covering, and in 1863 patented this new material. Walton called this new cloth "linoleum". He moved his factory for Staines, and in 1864, formed the Linoleum Manufacturing Company and by 1869 the factory in Staines was exporting to Europe and the United States.
Expansion to America
In the 1870s, Walton partnered with carpet manufacturer John Crossley to form the American Linoleum Company. They set up a factory at Linoleumville, New York to manufacture linoleum. Walton spent two years in America setting up the factory and starting the business, before returning to the United Kingdom. The America company was highly successful and profitable.
Walton obtained further patents for processes related to the production of linoleum. In 1863, he patented a method of passing sheets of coloured linoleum through rollers to emboss a pattern on them. In 1882, he patented machinery to make inlaid mosaic floor coverings. He also invented a number of related products, most notably Lincrusta, an embossed wall-covering base on linoleum, launched in 1877. In all he obtained over 100 patents.
Walton died in 1928, aged 94.
In 1867, Walton married Alice Scruby. They had four children:
- Olive Mary Walton. Born 1871. Author and Photographer. Married Herbert Vivian in 1897.
- Frederick James Walton, born 1877.
- Clarice Walton, born 1879.
- Violet Walton.
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