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From Industrial Material to Table Top Trend: The History of Epoxy

From Industrial Material to Table Top Trend

The Rise of Epoxy For Table Tops

Epoxy resin isn’t just a buzzword in the DIY community; it’s a material that has quite literally seeped its way from industrial uses into the artful corners of interior decor.

So how did this sticky substance become the go-to for creating some of the most eye-catching tabletops out there?

This journey from the lab to the living room highlights key historical milestones and the pioneers who propelled epoxy resin from the wings of aircraft to modern day homes.

The Birth of Epoxy

Our story begins in the vibrant era of 20th-century chemistry when Swiss chemist Dr. Pierre Castan forged a path for modern adhesives by patenting the first epoxy resin in 1936.

Epoxy for Teeth? 🦷

In 1936 Dr Castan produced an amber coloured, low melting solid from the reaction of 2 components which could be thermoset by reaction with a 3rd component. This was employed for dental fixtures and castings. The patented process was licensed to Ciba Limited who developed new epoxide adhesives.

(Source: Plastics Historical Society)

Concurrently, across the Atlantic, Dr. Sylvan Greenlee in the United States was patenting the curing agents essential to epoxy’s utility as a formidable adhesive.

  • 1930s: Dr. Castan’s patent laid the foundation for today’s epoxy resin
  • 1940s: During WWII, epoxy’s superior adhesive qualities were first harnessed, primarily in military applications, fortifying aircraft and vehicles

The Decorative Leap (50’s-60’s)

The end of the global conflict sparked an artistic renaissance, as creatives began to repurpose industrial materials, with epoxy leading the charge.

Its progression from a tool of utility to one of artistry paralleled the era’s innovative spirit.

  • 1950s: Epoxy floors became a popular choice in industrial and commercial spaces thanks to their chemical resistance and durability.
  • 1960s: George Nakashima led the charge and popularized the live edge slab for what we now use today in most epoxy resin river tables.
live edge slab table george nakashima - altar for peace

Epoxy for Table Tops (70’s)

The transformation of epoxy from industrial staple to home decor highlight has been particularly significant in the world of furniture, specifically table top epoxy.

This part of its history is not just about durability but also about artistry and customization.

  • 1970s: The advent of epoxy in home use opened a new frontier for furniture makers and hobbyists alike.
    • Epoxy was discovered to be an excellent material for preserving and highlighting the beauty of wood grains and other materials, leading to its use in table tops.
Vintage Epoxy Table - Vierhaus, Germany 1970s

Epoxy in the Mainstream (80’s-2000’s)

Epoxy’s infiltration into mainstream culture was expedited as it became more user-friendly. Brands such as Fiberglass Coatings, Inc. began tailoring epoxy for domestic use, emphasizing its ease of use and lasting clarity.

  • 1980s: FGCI (Fiberglass Coatings, Inc.), founded in the early 60’s, began to take charge as one of the go-to polymer and fiberglass manufacturers in Florida.
    • Helping to transform boats, automobiles, and homes throughout the Southeastern United States.
  • 1990s to 2000s: Home improvement shows like “The New Yankee Workshop” further popularized epoxy, featuring it as a dependable material for boat building and hard-wearing table tops.
Fiberglass Coatings Archives - Boat Building

Epoxy Today

Nowadays, epoxy resin is more than just a cover-up or adhesive; it’s a way to add some flair to your home decor.

  • Design Flexibility: The design world now praises epoxy for its adaptability, with the material being used to embed colors, textures, and personal items into furniture.
  • Durability and Sustainability: In an era gravitating towards eco-friendly choices, Superclear Epoxy is innovating with VOC & BPA free formulas that retain the material’s strength.
superclear table top epoxy

Why Choose Superclear Table Top Epoxy?

We’re not just bragging when we say that our Superclear Table Top Epoxy is top-notch. Why settle for less when you can get:

  • Hassle-Free: Easier than uncorking a wine bottle. No complicated mixing or tedious applications here.
  • The Best Bet: Our Superclear Table Top Epoxy is the go-to choice for top-notch epoxy bar tops.
  • Food Grade Safe: FDA 21 CFR 175.300 and ASTM D-4236 certified. As safe as grandma’s kitchen.
  • Mix and Match: Pair Superclear with Supercolors Pigments or your choice of mica powder and alcohol dyes.
  • Flawless Finish: Enjoy a super gloss that’s not only clear but also scratch-resistant, water-resistant, and chemical-resistant.

Wrapping Things Up

The story of epoxy resin is a testament to how materials can evolve beyond their original purpose.

Today we find many uses for epoxy resin in various industries (marine, aerospace, woodworking, flooring, electronics, arts & crafts).

Who knows what epoxy resin may be used for next!

Ready for More?🧐

If you’re looking to learn more, check out our in depth guide on how to epoxy a table top!

Superclear Table Top Epoxy 2 Gallon Kit
Superclear Epoxy 1 Gallon Kit Epoxy Resin

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