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The History of Line Marking

The marking of lines is not something new. It has been in existence since the 19th century, particularly within the sporting industry. Many of the games we watch on TV include line marking. Cricket, football, tennis to name a few. In the past, the line marking for these games were the same. I know what you’re thinking, these sports couldn’t be more different so why should the line marking be the same? Well, during the late 19th century, each sport’s governing body began to develop individual rules which led to individual pitch markings.

Almost all these sports were played on grass surfaces, hence they required some form of line marking. This was initially in the form of wood shavings and dust but progressed to chalk and limestone materials which could develop into an easily spreadable dry compound. Early line marking materials, such as the ones specified above, lacked the ability to be long-lasting because they were easily washed out by the rain. Imagine that. You’re watching a game of cricket and suddenly it is game over because the lines have washed off.

The late 19th century saw the introduction of line marking machines which are designed to produce sharp, straight lines because of enhanced engineering techniques and pressurised jet systems. This produced an alternative method for the application of line marking. Users now can produce accurate and professional shapes and lines quicker than created previously. This is just one benefit, there are countless more.


Line marking materials are designed to produce either permanent or non-permanent lines. Unlike in the past, there are a range of marking products available today.


  • Powders: chalk-based products which are mainly used on grass surfaces
  • All Weather Surface Compounds: dry compounds used for black ash and similar surfaces.
  • Liquids: water-based paints and emulsions can be used on grass and artificial surfaces.

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  • Paint: used on playgrounds, car parks, sports halls and areas that need frequent washing.
  • Aerosols: used on grass or all hard surfaces. Can be applied by hand, with a handgun applicator or a purpose-built wheeled applicator
  • Tapes: used on grass or gravel type surfaces.

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Pitch line marking machines have revolutionised the way line marking is implemented, and the use of modern plastics and design technology has further pushed this development. As a result, line marking machines now come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and systems. This makes them ideal for different types of situations, whether this is within a construction site or on a sports pitch.

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