by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
What goes around comes around, they say, and it would appear that sometimes we really go full circle.
Once upon a time not so long ago oilcloth tablecloths and whatever else from that material, also known as American Cloth, were common in homes almost everywhere, though more among the working class than higher up the chain.
There is nothing like an oilcloth tablecloth for both appeal and practicality – a pretty design can be an instant low cost ‘pick me up’ for any kitchen, and it is ultra-easy to keep clean. No home was ever complete without having such table cloths on the kitchen table in days gone by and the kitchen was, after all, where it was all happening. The kitchen was the heart of the home in those days and they were fairly large unlike those in homes that were built after the 1960s that are the size of rabbit hutches and often too small to swing a cat (not the fury thing before the animal lobby says something) and definitely too small to have a kitchen table around which to sit and eat and do other things.
The modern oilcloth may no longer be coated with boiled linseed oil (though the process in producing that for creating oilcloth was not a very green one either) but coated with PVC and thus, maybe, not all that green.
Oilcloth tablecloths are made from a fabric weave with a PVC coating so are the perfect choice for family homes as well as businesses such as cafes and nurseries. They can instantly give a fresh new look to a room without the need to redecorate. But, as said, PVC is not all that green but sometimes the positives can outweigh the negatives.
One of the major benefits is that oilcloth tablecloths are so easy to keep clean and they can also be used outdoors, on the patio table. All you have to do is wipe away any spills or mess with a clean damp cloth and your tablecloth is ready to use again. Unlike with a fabric tablecloth there is no need to wash or iron an oilcloth one, which saves water, detergent, and the cloth itself. It is all a case of horses for courses but I remember that we had oilcloth tablecloths at home – also already PVC coated cotton – that lasted for years and years. Some were 20 or more years old.