32. Vulcanized Rubber

Christopher Columbus was the first man to bring rubber balls to Europe! Rubber will rot slowly. It will change with the outside temperature and become brittle in cold weather and sticky in hot weather. So it could not be put to any use in such varying climates.

Many inventors tried to make rubber weather proof! This would render rubber a stronger and a more reliable material!

One of them was Charles Goodyear, who spent seven long years trying to make rubber stronger, by boiling it with different substances. But he could not get the right combination!

In 1839, a concoction of rubber and sulfur fell from his hands by chance, on a hot stove. They melted and combined to form strong rubber.

Sulfurized rubber steamed at 132 degrees Celsius-under pressure for several hours-resulted in weather proofing rubber.

Vulcan was the Roman God of Fire. His name was given to the rubber made stronger by heat treatment. The very first thing made out of vulcanized rubber was the puckered ruffles on fancy shirts!

Today Vulcanized rubber is a multimillion dollar business, even though it was invented by a small lucky accident!

Visalakshi Ramani


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