The Rubber Band: More Sales Than The Beatles


As far back as the ancient Mayans, people have been employing latex in a multitude of uses. The Maya used it to make human figures, bindings to keep their ax heads attached to handles and they also used it  in the construction of balls. The Mayans would mix the latex harvested from rubber trees and combine it with the sap from morning glory vines to improve its elasticity and durability.

Over the ensuing years, numerous inventors continued to improve upon latex and its uses. One of the most famous early uses of rubber was as a waterproofing method for coats. In 1823, Charles Macintosh created a method of waterproofing clothing that involved using rubber dissolved in coal-tar naphtha. This would then be used to glue two pieces of fabric together. Back in the 1800s, when someone said “Mac” they meant a Macintosh coat imbued with Charles’ rubber waterproofing material.

Twenty-two years after Charles Macintosh patented his special rubber water proofing method, another Englishman by the name of Stephen Perry, who was a member of the Messers Perry and Co., Rubber Manufacturing of London, created the first rubber bands out of vulcanized rubber. The invention was motivated by a necessity to hold envelopes and paper together. Since that time, rubber bands have been sold in the billions.

Rubber bands are produced by squeezing rubber on to long tubes. The tubes come in various diameters so that bands of many sizes can be produced. The rubber is then cured with heat to produce a homogenous covering of the tube. When cooled the rubber is then sliced in the small bands we now know as rubber bands.

Since the days of Stephen Perry, the dominate source of material used to produce rubber has greatly changed. The majority, upwards of three-quarters, of all rubber made now is from crude oil. As of today there are twenty different grades of synthetically produced rubber. This new method of rubber production uses the parts of crude oil known as styrene and butadiene. These two components are then mixed with soapsuds. The resultant product is an artificial form of latex. When the liquid coagulates and dries what is left is known as “crumbs”. The “crumbs” are then sold to manufactures, such as Meere rubber molding, to melt down and use as they see fit for an almost limitless array of products.

Meere rubber molding manufacturers can custom produce all sorts of rubber parts including: o-rings, gaskets, washers, oil seals, square rings, quad rings, D-rings, X-rings, u-cups, grommets, diaphragms, packings, rubber boots, rubber balls, rubber bonded to metal, and productions from your prints and designs. Consider Meere today.

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