While vinyl fencing is the relative new kid on the block, it actually has roots dating back over 100 years. In the late 1800's European researchers used a gas called vinyl chloride in a mixture that resulted in a rigid material. They discovered this process made the material very rigid, however, at the time, there seemed to be little commercial value. In the 1920's, a rubber scientist named Waldo Semon, was working for the BF Goodrich Company looking for a way to bond rubber to metal. The result was plasticized polyvinyl chloride, what today we call PVC. While once again there seemed to be little commercial value there was a definite future for Dr. Semon's work, as the 30's saw commercial applications begin to take hold leading to further experimentation with vinyl formulations.
The 40's saw vinyl become an important commodity as it became the alternative for an ever shrinking natural rubber supply. It was used extensively to replace rubber, as the primary insulator for electric wires. Continuing physical property advancements during the next decade brought new markets. The 50's saw the introduction of rigid PVC which was, and is used for irrigation pipe. This advancement is what eventually led to the development, in the late 70's, of the vinyl fence product line.
The early days of vinyl fence saw product initially provided by a small number of companies who offered a limited amount of basic styles of both privacy and picket vinyl fence. These fences were white in color and most styles were constructed resembling their wood counterparts with the pickets being attached to horizontal rails by method of gluing or back screwing (screwing through the rail, into the back of the picket, then plugging the hole in the rail). Today, there are a plethora of vinyl fence manufacturers and providers offering vinyl fence in a wide variety of styles, colors and finishes with end variations numbering well into the hundreds.
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