The Prehistory of Artificial Grass

When one thinks of artificial grass, the image that comes to mind is that of a lush, verdant yard with plastic fibers or an artificial grass soccer field at their local park. But that hasn't always been the case. In fact, according to a simple Google Search, the phrase "artificial grass" goes all the way back to the 18thcentury, when it had a different meaning. Back then, according to a monthly journal first published in 1861 called Evans's Rural Economist, artificial grass was any grass which required an art to grow (or any grass which required a "green thumb").

According to the journal, "Botanists restrict the term 'grass' to the natural order Graminea; but common observers, and even agricultural writers, in this country, apply the term 'artificial grass' to clovers and lucern, as well also as to timothy, and such grasses proper as require cultivation, restricting the term 'natural grass' to such grasses proper as naturally take possession without artificial seeding."

This definition is very different than the meaning of today. Today, on the contrary, artificial grass refers to a synthetic grass surface which doesn't require a green thumb, art, or cultivation at all -- because synthetic grass doesn't grow!

It is unclear when the change in meaning occurred, but most likely it started with the introduction artificial grass to the general public in 1966. That year, the Astrodome became the first major field to be fitted with artificial turf. Since then artificial grass has become a mainstay in the sports, landscaping, gardening, and home remodeling industries and furthermore has taken on the meaning it has today.

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