rubber band

The ancient Mesoamericans such as Aztecs and Mayans used latex, the sap of the indigenous rubber tree to create natural rubber products around 1600 B.C. They mixed the rubber sap with the juice from morning glory vines in order to make it more durable and elastic.

The texture of rubber was largely dependent on weather. If the weather was hot, the rubber was sticky and in cold weather it became brittle and hard. In 1839, Charles Goodyear, an American, created vulcanized rubber by mixing it with sulphur and heating it. The resultant rubber was unaffected by weather and would snap back to its original form if stretched. Vulcanized rubber was more durable and was suited for a variety of products.

It was Stephen Perry who made use of  rubber and invented the rubber band to hold papers or envelopes together.His company Messrs Perry and Co patented the first rubber bands on March 17, 1845.

Thomas Hancock, the founder of British rubber industry invented the masticator, a machine that shredded rubber scraps, allowing rubber to be recycled after being formed into blocks or rolled into sheets. He thus invented a machine which could conserve rubber. The end product of the machine was a homogeneous mass of rubber. Masticator is hence considered to be the forerunner of the rubber milling machine used to make rubber bands.

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