Thomas Armstrong started his company in 1860 as a two-man cork-cutting shop in Pittsburgh. The first deliveries of hand-carved corks were made by wheelbarrow.
The son of Scottish-Irish immigrants, Armstrong steered his struggling company through the Civil War, financial panics, disastrous factory fires and a cutthroat marketplace. He succeeded because he relied upon a family credo of hard work and faith. He attracted and held dedicated employees who shared the same values. He took pride in the production and sale of quality products that bore his family name. And he was determined that his company always act with fairness and in the balanced best interests of customers, stockholders, employees, suppliers, community neighbors, government and the general public.
Armstrong was among the first of American entrepreneurs to discard the old business principle "Let the buyer beware,” meaning the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of products before buying. Instead, he pioneered the principle "Let the buyer have faith," standing behind his products and giving customers confidence in their purchase.
He was a branding innovator, too, stamping "Armstrong" on each cork as early as 1864. And soon he was tucking a written guarantee into the burlap sacks of cork shipped from a big new factory on a Pittsburgh riverbank.
As buyer confidence in the Armstrong brand grew, so did national sales. In the mid-1890s, Armstrong emerged as the world's largest cork company.
Early on, the company began to find new uses for cork – for everything from shoe insoles to insulation to acoustical panels for recital halls. A new factory rose from a cornfield on the edge of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and in 1909 -- a year after Thomas Armstrong died -- the company started making and selling linoleum. It was the first in a robust flooring product portfolio to come.
The Armstrong formula for success became clear: stick to your core business and your core values but be ready and willing to adapt and innovate to meet customer demand and market conditions. More than a century later, that philosophy is alive and well in Armstrong Flooring today. The company has grown to become North America’s largest producer of resilient flooring products, serving both homeowners and commercial customers.
Now we’re writing the next chapter in our storied history. In April 2016, we separated from Armstrong World Industries and emerged as a stand-alone publicly traded company, Armstrong Flooring, Inc. (NYSE:AFI). This move enables us to focus on the hallmarks of our brand: innovation, design and production of the best flooring solutions to meet our customers’ current and future needs.
While our company name is “new,” our 150-year legacy and continued commitment to providing customers with inspiring designs, unparalleled durability, uncompromising quality, and superior service remains the same.
We are Armstrong Flooring. And we’re reinventing flooring...again!