James Faria and Robert Wright of Monsanto Industries co-invented Astroturf. A patent for astroturf was filed for on December 25, 1965 and issued by the USPTO on July 25, 1967.
The Evolution of AstroturfDuring the 50s and 60s, the Ford Foundation was studying ways to improve the physical fitness of young people. At the same time, the Chemstrand Company, a subsidiary of Monsanto Industries, were developing new synthetic fibers for use as tough carpeting.
Chemstrand was encouraged to try to make the perfect urban sports surface for schools by the Ford Foundation. From 1962 to 1966, Chemstrand worked on creating new sports surfaces. The surfaces were tested for foot traction and cushioning, weather drainage, flammability and wear resistance.
ChemgrassIn 1964, the Creative Products Group installed a synthetic turf called Chemgrass at the Moses Brown School in Providence Rhode Island. This was the first large-scale installation of a synthetic turf. In 1965, Judge Roy Hofheinz built the AstroDome in Houston, Texas. Hofheinz consulted with Monsanto about replacing the natural grass with a new synthetic playing surface.
The First AstroturfIn 1966, the Houston Astros' baseball season begins on a Chemgrass surface now renamed Astroturf at the AstroDome. Supposedly it was renamed AstroTurf by one John A. Wortmann.
The same year, the Houston Oilers' AFL football season began on more than 125,000 square feet of removable Astroturf at the AstroDome. The next year, Indiana State University Stadium, in Terre Haute, Indiana became the first outdoor stadium installed with Astroturf.
Astroturf PatentedIn 1967, Astroturf was patented (U.S. patent #3332828 see photos right). The patent for a "monofilament ribbon file product" was issued to inventors Wright and Faria, of Monsanto Industries.
In 1986, Astroturf Industries, Inc. was formed and sold in 1994 to Southwest Recreational Industries.