The use of painted canvas floorcoverings, also known as “oyl cloths” dates as far back as the 14th century in Europe. When people came to this country they were looking for ways to reproduce some of the furnishings they were used to back home. Resources were limited, but worn sails from ships provided them with a base to paint and cover the floor with.American primitive paintings often depict subjects standing on boldly geometric floorcloths; William Burnet, Governor of New York and Massachusetts during Colonial times, had floorcloths listed in his household inventory; and later, George Washington ordered floorcloths for his Mt. Vernon retirement home. Canvas was more readily available than other rug and carpet supplies, and the ease of cleaning made floorcloths particularly desirable. Placed over wide boards, the heavily painted canvas cut cold drafts from below, and were cool underfoot in summer.