PVC (polyvinyl chloride) was accidentally synthesized in the nineteenth century, in particular by the French chemist and physicist Henri Victor Regnault in 1835 and by the German Eugen Baumann in 1872. But it was in the twentieth century that its industrial applications were developed.
From 1935, Waldo Semon, employed by B. F. Goodrich, a chemical company in North Carolina, is developing different grades of PVC, including soft PVC. These vinyl floors then dethrone linoleum very quickly.
In la France, the first PVC floors are developed as soon as 1937 by Gerflor. Takeoff takes place after the Second World War. The improvements are first of all related to plastic additives improving certain qualities (strength, lightness), then on the adhesives that make the installation more durable.
In 1986, the Gerflor adhesive tiles are launched on the market by an advertising campaign whose slogan has left their mark: "Gerflor makes self-adhesive tiles... and presto!".
Since the 1990s, environmental concerns have resulted in ecological improvement of glues and new products, such as the woven PVC floor. But, the ecological footprint of linoleum (made from a plant resin) has long been more "light" than that of vinyls, since they are made from PVC.