The laminate we use in our office furniture dates back to 1913, where the Formica Corporation set out to find a replacement for Mica, a commonly used electrical insulate.
Almost accidentally, Formica’s electrical engineers, Herbert A Faber and Daniel J O’Conor discovered that several sheets of brown paper soaked in phenolic resin formed a highly durable surface. After more experimentation they saw that when bathed in a melamine resin, colours could be added to the surface. By then pressing the sheets of paper together under up to 700Kgs of pressure per square inch and heat, a highly decorative and durable panel is created – laminate.
By the 1930’s Formica had mastered the process and had begun a kitchen and bathroom revolution. Many people realised the advantages of Formica laminate over conventional timber and plastics and all wanted the look and feel of laminate in their own homes.
With increasing demand a whole new range of colours were introduced in 1950, making it an even more popular choice. At the time there were few alternatives that could match quality and aesthetics of Formica laminate and the Formica laminate epidemic was spreading globally. It was around this time that laminate began to be used in the manufacturing of office furniture.
Today, virtually every household and office has laminate furniture, whether it be desktops, kitchen bench tops or storage units. It’s not hard to see why the product is still so popular.