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Indiarubber and gutta percha; a complete practical treatise on indiarubber and gutta percha in their historical, botanical, arboricultural, mechanical, chemical, and electrical aspects; online

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INDIARUBBER AND GUTTA PERCHA



INDIARUBBER AND
GUTTA PERCH A

A Complete Practical Treatise

ON

INDIARUBBER AND GUTTA PERCHA

IN THEIR

HISTORICAL, BOTANICAL, ARBORICULTURAL

MECHANICAL, CHEMICAL, AND

ELECTRICAL ASPECTS



TRANSLA TED FROM THE FRENCH
OF

T. SEELIGMANN, G. LAMY TORRILHON
AND H. FALCONNET

BY

JOHN GEDDES M C INTOSH

LATE IECTURBR ON THE CHEMICAL TECHNOLOGY OF GUMS, RESINS, ETC. ETC.
THE POLYTECHNIC, REGENT STREET



WITH 145 ILLUSTRATIONS AND 125 TABLES



Second Bn0lf6b E&itfon, "Revises attf



LONDON

SCOTT, GREENWOOD & SON

8 BKOADWAY, LUDGATE HILL, E.G.

1910

[The sole rights of Translation into English rest with Scott, Greenwood ct* Son]

D; VAN NOSTRAND COMPANY



AUTHORS' PREFACE



IF the reader will be good enough to take a rapid glance at the bibliographical
resume at the end of this treatise, 1 he will very readily acknowledge that the
special literature devoted to indiarubber and gutta pcrcha is considerable, not
only in foreign countries, but also in our own, and that such is the case
although only a comparatively short time has elapsed since the discovery of
these raw materials and their industrial applications.

If we to-day, therefore, undertake the responsibility of presenting to the
public a new treatise, dealing with the same subject, it is not for the mere sake
of the vainglory of adding another unit to tJie already considerable number
of works and memoirs published, as many on "gum elastic" as on "gum
plastic." We have a higher ambition, a less futile object. We acknowledge
that almost all the treatises hitherto published have the great merit of having
dealt excellently with the subject from the special point of view or vantage
ground in which the authors were placed, "but, taken as a whole, they are,
nearly always, awanting in that cohesion and in that unity of piirpose which
the reader looks for in a work of this nature. They are deficient in that
co-ordination which is so essential for those who seek to embrace, in a single
glance of the eye, the results obtained, up to a certain moment, on any given
subject. The greater number of treatises which, to our own knowledge, have
been edited with this end in view, contain, most generally, obsolete information,
and no longer respond to the wants of the present time. Like man, books
get old quickly nowadays, ami a book is scarcely written before it requires
modification, nay even completion.

Freely availing ourselves of the elements of an abundant special literature,
and profiting by our own personal experience, we have been able to effect our
purpose, to combine in one harmonious whole the precious scattered elements
of an infinite number of publications, to extract from them their quintessence,
and make of them an exact prdcis or rfaume responding to the needs of the
present day. In this way we have been enabled to methodically classify in their
turn or rotation the plants producing the raw material, the commercial
varieties most commonly met with on the international market, with the
characteristic signs of their individuality, and have also been enabled to
assign to them a certain habitat in each part of the globe. Moreover, thanks
to these elements, we have been enabled to deal competently with the+rational
culture and acclimatisation of indiarubber and gutta percha plants, and to
devote ourselves to a critical study of the methods employed, not only for the
collection of the latex, but also for the extraction therefrom of the respective
rubbers and gutta perchas, and thus have been enabled to recommend the
method which appeared to us the most advantageous for each species.
1 Omitted from Second English Edition.



vi AUTHORS' PREFACE

After having studied the physical properties of the rubbers in their
natural state, as well as the mechanical transformations which are necessary
to impart to the crude material the qualities which industry demands of it,
this question has led us to examine such a singularly interesting phenomenon
as the vulcanisation of intfiarubber, and we have endeavoured to define this
transformation in as plain and intelligible a manner as possible. Our theory
may be criticised, but contradiction throws light on the subject, and we shall
be pleased if, in giving rise to discussion, we have been enabled to shed some
light upon a question which is still so obscure.

We have next studied the chemical and physical properties of india-
rubber after it has been essentially transformed by vulcanisation, to again
occupy ourselves with the reclamation of the waste, and finally to dwell a
moment on extreme vulcanisation, that is to say, on the preparation of
hardened rubber, namely, ebonite.

We have assimilated all the data at our disposal on the methods of
analysing rubbers, and examined the methods of technical testing and valua-
tion proposed by several technological savants ; then we have been induced to
take up the substitutes and artificial products capable of replacing the crude
material to a certain extent, whether they act by correcting certain faults in
the latter, or lohether it be proposed by means of them to lessen the cost.

In regard to gutta percha we have followed the same method of study, not
. without taking into account the difficulties incidental to such an undertaking.
The botanical origin of gum plastic, as well as its commercial varieties,
presents to any one who wishes to obtain information in regard thereto a
regular muddle or maze. To face this labyrinth is to incur the risk of
getting lost in it. If, thanks to more recent researches, the darkness tends
to be dissipated, complete light is nevertheless far from being an accomplished
fact, and we shall be pleased if, on our part, we have contributed a little to
advance such a difficult and complex question.

However that may be, we do not forget that our work is, in a large
measure, the result of the labours of our predecessors. We have often, in fact,
been limited to assimilating the fruits of their learned and patient re-
searches. We have not always and in every instance quoted the sources
from which we have drawn our information, so as not to hinder the progress
of our work. We beg the specialists, who have been good enough to lend
their often precious assistance, to receive here the legitimate homage of our
sincerest gratitude.

If the reader obtains from our treatise information of use to him, we
shall be amply recompensed for our efforts and our trouble, for our motto is
and always shall be

To BE USEFUL.



CONTENTS

FIRST PART

INDIARUBBER

I' AGE

HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION ........ 3

CHAPTER I

Indiarubber, Latex; Definitions; Latici fero us Vessels ; Botanical Origin, Habitats . 11

CHAPTER II.

Methods of Obtaining the Latex Methods of Preparing Raw or Crude Indiarubber . 32

CHAPTER III

Rubber Cultivation in Various Countries .... .56

CHAPTER IV

Classification and Valuation of the Commercial Brands of Raw Rubber . . 92

CHAPTER V

Physical and Chemical Properties of the Latex and of Indiarubber General

Considerations ... . . . 110

CHAPTER VI

Mechanical Transformation of Natural Rubber into Washed or Normal Rubber

(Purification) Softening, Cutting, Washing, Drying, Storage . 136

CHAPTER VII

Mechanical Transformation of Normal Rubber into Masticated Rubber . . . 1 42



viii CONTENTS

CHAPTER VIII

PAGE

Vulcanisation of Normal Rubber . . , . 162

CHAPTER IX

Chemical and Physical Properties of Vulcanised Rubber . . 193

CHAPTER X

Hardened Rubber or Ebonite Enamelling and Colouring Ebonite Ebonite Veneers . 212

CHAPTER XI

Remarks on Mineral Rubber Fillers Various Rubber Mixtures Coloration and Dyeing

Dental Rubber Analysis of Natural or Normal Rubber and Vulcanised Rubber . 219

CHAPTER XII

Rubber Substitutes Imitation Rubber Analysis of Substitutes and of Vulcanised

Indiarubber containing Substitutes and of Ebonite . . . ' ~ -. - . 260

SECOND PART

GUTTA PERCHA
HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION ...... . . 289

CHAPTE;R I

Definition of Gutta Percha Botanical Origin Habitat Descriptive Botany of Gutti-

ferous Plants . . . . . . . ." . . 294

CHAPTER II

Climatology Soil Rational Culture The Dutch Plantations in Java . ! '.. . . . 319

CHAPTER III

Methods of Collection Felling and Ringing versus Tapping Extraction of Gutta Percha

from Leaves by Toluene, etc., and from Leaves and Bark by Mechanical Means . 328

CHAPTER IV

Classification and Valuation of the Different Brands of Commercial Gutta Percha . 339

CHAPTER V

Physical and Chemical Properties of Gutta Percha, Balata, etc. . . . . 351



CONTENTS ix

CHAPTEE VI

Mechanical Treatment of Gutta Percha Chemical Hardening of Gutta Percha Bleaching

Dental Gutta Percha Reclamation of Gutta Percha ..... 378

CHAPTER VII

Methods of Analysing Gutta Percha ....... 395

CHAPTER. VIII

Gutta Percha Substitutes ......... 402

INDEX . . .... 404



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



FIG. PAGE

1. Full-grown Para Iiidiarubber Tree

2. Six-months-old Indiarubber Tree 5

3. Hevea Braz'dicnsis. Flowering Twig . .14

4. Manihot Glazowii. Young Branch, etc. 15

5. Castilloa Elastica . .16

6. Ficus Elastica . . .17

7. Artocarpus

8. Artocarpus Incisa

9. Vahea ... .20

10. Landolphia Owariensis .

11. Funtumia Elastica . .27

12. Plants Producing Root Rubber 29

13. Guayule Rubber

14. Hatchet for Tapping Rub

15. Tigelinha .(cup) for Collecting Latex .

16. Seringueiro Tapping Para Rubber Tree

17. Urceola Elastica

18. Latex-Collecting Utensil

18A. Fumeiro or Furnace for Smoking Rubber
18 u. Mould Used in " Smoking" the Latex

19. Smoking Para Rubber .

20 . . . . 43

4V' 5>

21. Collecting Rubber by Spiral Tapping .

22. Utensils and Tools Used on a Rubber Plantation

23. Collecting Rubber from Castilloa Trees

24. The K. L. [Kala Lumpur] Coagulator .

25. Plantation Rubber Washing Machine .

26. Testing Rubber Washing Machines . 70

27. Hydraulic Rubber Blocking Press .

28. Vacuum Dryer for Indiarubber (Passburg)

29. (Scott)

30. Plan of Plantation Rubber Factory

31. Rubber Plantation Three Years Old .

32. ,, ; Four Years Old .^

33. Machinery for Crushing Guayule Rubber

34. Para Rubber Trees, Palapilly, Cochin, India .

35. Landolphia which yields Mozambique Rubber .

36. Transverse Section of Oallotropis Gigantca



xii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

FIG. PAGE

37. Transverse Section of Landolphia Gummifera . - .-" . . . . 115

38. Sections of Landolphia Scnegalcnsis . ' . .."."'. . . .115

39. Machine for Cutting up Raw Rubber . . . .- ... . 137

40. Washing Machine . ... .- . . . . ,. . . 138

41. Indiarubber Washing Machine driven by Electric Motor . . . . 139

42. Rolls for Washing Machines . ~ . . . . . . .140

43. Rubber Washing Machine . / * . . . .. . .141

44. Mixer (Elevation) . >' .'.. "'". . -.' . . 142

45. (Plan) . . . . , . - - - 143

46. 47. Mixer, with Superimposed Rolls . . ."-.. -. ~ . .144
48. Improved Mixing Machine . ... . . , . -. . . . 145
49,50. Machine for Cutting a Continuous Sheet of Rubber . .- . .147

51. Automatic Thickness Gauge . '.. . . . . 148

52, 53. Micrometers for Rubber . . ' . ; . . .148

54. Thicknesses of English Sheet Rubber . /. / ''.';' . ' . . .148

55. Horizontal Sheet Cutting Machine . , . . . v . . 149

56. Machine for Cutting Circular Sheets ......'. . 150

57. Rickkers' Crushing Mixer .- . ' ... ... . 151

58. Large Calibre Mixer . . ' . . . .. .. '. 151

59. Heavy Two-Roll Calender . .. . . . .;, : . 152

60. Three-Roll '.- . >.' . ... ' i/ . . 153

61. Six-Roll ,, / . .^ . ..: ";. ... . 154
62,63. Four-roll ,, . ^. . . .V .. ; : 155,156
64, 65. Six-Roll Double-Effect Calender . .- . ... .' . 156,157

66. Machine for Making Raised Sheet-Rubber . . .. - , v . . 158

67. Horizontal Spreader . . ... . . . .159

68. Vertical Spreader . . . . . . . . .160

69. Karmarsch and Heeren's Vulcaniser ..... ... . 176

70. High-pressure Steam ,, . . . . . . . 177

71. Coster, Rickkers, & Co. 's ,, . . . . . .177

72. Vertical Steam-Cased Vulcanisation Pan . . . . - . .178

73. Horizontal Open-Type .... .179

74. Single-Screw Vulcanising Press . . . . v . .180

75. Hand-Power .... . _. , . 180

76. Screw . . . ... . . . 181

77. Double-Screw Vulcanising Press .. . . . , '. . . 181

78. Vulcanising Screw Press with Three Plates . . 7 , . ... ^ . 182

79. ,, Press with Cylindrical Guide . . . .... .183

80. Hydraulic Vulcanising Press (Six Pistons) . . . V. .183

81. ,, (Six Plates) . . . : , / i .. . 184

82. ,, (Birmingham, U.S.A.) . . ; .j . . 185

83. ,, ,, (Decauville) . . . . ^ . 185

84. Three-Nip Hydraulic Press . . . . . . Y . 186

85. Hydraulic Vulcanising Autoclave .... .V .. 187

86. Indiarubber Band Used in Stewart's Experiments . . . ... 196

87. Graphical Representation of ,, ... 198

88. Effect of Pressure on Rubber Bands . . . . . .201

89. Apparatus for Reclaiming Rubber Waste ...... 207

90. Fine Grinding Machine for Rubber Tyres ...... 208

91. Apparatus for Elongation Experiments . . . . . 231



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS xiii

FIG. PAGE

92. Apparatus for Determining Breaking Strain . ., >. . . . . . 232

93. Deformation of Pressed Rubber .. . ., . '. . .238

94. 95. Dynamometer Diagrams ... .251, 254

96. Dynamometer for Tensile Tests .., . . 255

97. ,, for Compression Tests ....... 255

98. ,, for Bending . . . . .256
99,100. ,, . for Abrasion ,,...... 256,257

101. Schopper's Rubber-Testing Machine ... . 258

102. Cutting Machine for Test Samples . . . . . . .259

103. Apparatus for Extracting Resin, etc., from Rubber ..... 266

104. Autoclave for Analysis of Rubber . .... 266

105. Microscopic sections of Palaquium Guila ...... 294

106. Branch of Dichopsis Gutta ........ 300

107. Dichopsis OblongifoUum ........ 303

108. ,, Borneense ......... 304

109. ,, Treubii ......... 305

110. Payena Lerii ..... .... 306

111. Cake of Gutta Sandek . ... .... 307

112. Mimusops Balata . . . .... 309

113. Bassia Parkii . . . . . . . . .310

114. ,, ,, (Fruit and Branch) . .... 311

115. ,, ,, (Cross Section of Young Branch) ..... 312

116. Gutta Percha Plantation in Java . . . 323

117. Golf- Ball Testing Apparatus ... .... 353

118-122. Sections of Submarine Telegraph Cables .... 357-359

123. Lead Press for Covering Electric Cables ...... 360

124. Machine for Covering Wires with Gutta Percha ..... 363

125. Gutta Percha Slicing Machine . . . . . . .379

126. Section of Breaking, Mixing, and Rolling Machine . . . . 380

127. Slicing Machine or Chopper ........ 381

128. English Washing Machine ... .... 381

129-131. Filter-Press ........ 382, 383

132, 133. Sections of Drying Machine . . . . . . .383

134. Leblanc's Masticator ......... 384

135-138. Three-Cylinder Mixers ... ... 387, 388

139, 140. Rolling-Mills . . . . % . . , 389, 390

141. Truman Washing Machine . . . . . . . 391

142. Masticating Drying Machine . . . . . . . .392

143. Masticator . . . . . . . .393

144. Electrometer . 399



LIST OF TABLES



TABLE PAGE

I. Typical Analysis of Para Latex , '.. ... . . . 11

II. Distribution of Landolphia . ' ". '. . ; * - . . 25

III. Classification of Landolphia . . . . . . . .26

IV. Methods of Coagulating Latex . . ,-,. . ,, . .40
V. Analysis of Para Rubber Latex . . . . . .43

VI. Natural Habitat of Rubber Plants . . . . . .57

VII. Growth and Development of Manihot . . - . . . .61

VIII.- Tappings giving Non-Coagulable Latex . . ^. . .66

IX. Rational Manure for Rubber Plantation ... . . . . .76

X. Defective . -" - , . / .' . . 77

XL Manure for Rubber Plantation on Rich Land . . . . .77

XII. ., ,, ,, on Poor Land . . . . .78

XIII. ,, for Green Manuring . . .. , . . . . 79

XIV. Rubber Exports from Ceylon . . .. . . , .79

XV. Elevation and Rainfall of Ceylon Plantations . ;. V . . 80

XVI "i r87

' \ Composition of Ficus Elastica Rubbers from Borneo .

XVlA.J 188

XVII. Analyses of Gold Coast Rubber . . . . . .89

XVIII. Percentage of Solid Matter in Latex . . . . . .110

XIX. Density of Rubber Latex . . . . .' .' . Hi

XX. Analysis of Para and Assam Latex . . . , . .111

XXI. Chemical Composition of Latex of Hevea Braziliensis . . -.'-^ . 114

XXII. Constants of Sugars of Dambose Type . . . . ' .' . 117

XXIII. Ultimate Analysis of Pure Para Rubber . . . . .119

XXIV. ,, of Rubber . . . , ... . 119
XXV. ,, of Ficus Rubber . . . > , . 119

XXVI. Density of Commercially Pure Rubbers . . . . . 120

XXVII. Analysis of Bouchardat's ""Synthetic Rubber " .. . . - . 126

XXVIII. Solubility of Rubber in Various Sol vents . . . . .128

XXIX. ,, in Benzol . . ./ .' . . 130

XXX. Percentage of Oxygen in Rubber . . . ., . . 130

XXXI. Analysis of Rubber Extracted from Waterproofs , . . .131

XXXII. Loss on Washing Crude Rubber . . . . . .141

XXXIII. Variations in Tensile Strength of Rubber . - V . . - ' . . 166

XXXIV. Ingredients of Mixture for Curing Rubber . . . . . 174
XXXV. Tension of Steam at Different Temperatures ..... 176

XXXVI. Action of Carbon Disulphide on Vulcanised Rubber . . . .191

XXXVII. Densitv of Different Sorts of Rubber . 193



LIST OF TABLES



xv



TABLE

XXXVIII. Effect of Mixtures on Density of Rubber .', ^
XXXIX. Rubber Bands used in Stewart's Experiments

' /Elongation of Bands under Different Weights
XLI. J

XLII. Invariability of Volume of Depressed Caoutchouc

XLI1I. Acids used in Reclaiming Rubber Waste

XLIV. Expansion of Ebonite at Different Temperatures

XLV. Substances Mixed with Indiarubber (Rubber fillers) .

XLVI. Rubber Compositions for Various Purposes .

' ' j- Pigments used in Colouring Rubber .

XL Vlll. j

XLIX. Rubber used by Dentists .

L. Calculations for Finding Density of Rubber .
LI. Scale of Densities and Saline Solution Formulae
LII.1

' hlnfluence of Ash on Density ....

LV.'J

LVI. Mixture for Calcining Rubber
LVII. Results of
LVIII.

T TX

' Analysis of Vulcanised Rubber



LX. j
,XI.J



' ! Chemical Experiments on Vulcanised Rubber and Ebonite



LXI

LXII. Loss Sustained by Rubber when Heated
LXII1. Analysis and Valuation of Vulcanised Rubber
LXIV. Tests of Rubber under Pressure
LXV. ,, ,, ,, Hammering .

LXVI.
LXV I A.

v , rTT [Physical Experiments on Vulcanised Rubber and Ebonite
JjX V HA. )

LXVIII. (1 and 2). Summary of Heinzerling and Pahl's Results
LXIX. Moisture, Sulphur, and Ash in Rubber Substitutes .
LXX. Results of Repeated Analysis of Vulcanised Rubber .
LXXI. Ratio of Insoluble Sulphur to Rubber in Vulcanised Para

LXXII. Effect of Alcoholic Potash on Rubber

LXXIII. Soda on Ebonite .

T XXTV i

' [Analyses of Sophisticated Rubbers .

L.\ A I V A. J

LXXV. ,, of Commercial Rubber Substitutes
LXX VI. ,, of Substitutes' prepared from Oils .

LXXVII. Effect of Sulphur Chloride on Oil Substitutes
LXXVIII. ,, ,, on Pure Para Rubber

LXXIX. on English Sheet .

LXXX. ,. ,, on Commercial Sheet

LXXXI. Analyses of Vulcanised Rubber containing Substitutes

LXXXII. Composition of ,, ,, ,, ,,

LXXXIII. Analyses of Rubber Mixtures containing Asphaltum
LXXXIV. of Ebonite



PAGE
194

196

f!97

\199

202

207

217

220

220

r 220

1221

222

225

226



226, 227

. 228
. 229

230, 231

. 233

. 234

. 237

. 237

240-243

244-247

248, 249
. 269
. 271
. 271
. 272
. 272

. 273

. 274

. 274

. 276

. 78

. 278

. 279

. 280

. 280

. 281
282



XVI



LIST OF TABLES



TABLE

LXXXV.

LXXXVI.

LXXXVII.

LXXXVIII.

LXXXIX.

XC.

XCI.

XCII.

XCIII.

XCIV.

xcv.

XCVI.

XCVII.

XCVIII.

XCIX.

c.

01.

OIL
GUI.
CIV.

cv.

CVI.

CVII.

CVIII.

CVIIlA.

CIX.

ex.

CXI.

CXII.

CXIII.

CXIV.

cxv.

CXVI.

CXVII.

CXVIII.

CXIX.

cxx.

CXXI.

CXXII.

CXXIII.

CXXIV.

cxxv.



Mixing for Red Washers . .

Solvents for Nitro-Cellulose . . \\ .

Analysis of Coagulated Latex of Isonandra Gutta . .

Sapotaceous Plants which should Yield Gutta Percha
Synoptical Table of the Principal Guttiferous Plants
Analysis of Gutta Perchas of Known Botanical Origin
Analysis of Commercial Samples . . . " . ,

Gutta Percha Extraction by Toluene . ,. .

Valuation of the Different Brands of Commercial Gutta Percha
Analyses of ,, . " . ', .

,, of Getah Taban Merah and Getah Soondie .

,, of Singapore Gutta Perchas * >. .

Tenacity, etc., of Gutta Percha ; . . .

Elasticity of Gutta Percha . , ' " " .

Analysis of Oxidised Gutta Percha . '."'".
Elementary Composition of Gutta Percha v . .

Classification of Submarine Cables . >.:,
Gutta Percha on Cores of Early Cables - . . .

Variations in Resistance of Gutta Percha at Different Temperatures
Dielectric Strength of Gutta Percha, Caoutchouc, and Ebonite
Analysis of Gutta Percha (Paylu's Method) .

Properties of Hardened Gutta Percha v . . . ,

Elementary Composition of Flua vile . . .

., ,, of Albane . . . . .

of Gutta . . .

Destructive Distillation Products of Gutta Percha . . ,

Ultimate Analysis of Payena Lerii . . . . \

Analyses of Abyssinian Gutta . . .

Composition of Mimusops Gutta Percha . .

Solubility of Gutta Percha in Different Solvents . s

| Comparison of Commercial and Bassia Gutta Percha



\ Analyses of Bassia Gutta Percha



Analyses of Balata . .* . .

Balata Exports of British Guiana . .

Waste from Gutta Percha . . . . ,

Insulation and Induction by Wet and Dry Gutta Percha
Electrical Properties of Gutta Percha, etc. ._ ..,
Gutta Percha Substitutes, Formulae for " . "



PAGE

. 284

. 286

. 292

. 309
314-317

. 318

. 321

. 337
342-349
348, 349

. 350

. 350

. 352

. 352

. 356

. 358

. 358

. 361

. 364

. 365

. 367

. 367

. 368

. 368

. 369

370

. 370

|37l

' 1372

. 372

. 373

r373

' 1374

f374

' \375

. 376

. 377

. 385

. 397

. 401

403



FIRST PART



IND1ARUBBER



iroiARUBBER AM) GUTTA PERCHA



HISTOKICAL INTRODUCTION

IT would be superfluous to describe, in detail, the successive phases of the discovery
of the industrial properties of that peculiar body, called Indiarubber. Others have
already done so, and with a masterly hand. But to avoid all mention of these
phases would be to forfeit the pleasure of doing homage to the powers of observa-
tion, and the inventive genius, of the men who founded a great industry with
a substance which, at the outset, appeared to be, from a technological point of
view, of very trivial value indeed. So far back as 1868, Turgan, in his book
on the Great French Factories (les Grandes Usines de la France), was, even then,
able to say : " Indiarubber has, at the present day, become not only an essential
factor of industry, but also, and to an equal extent, of everyday life, so much so,
indeed, that its sudden suppression would cause vast confusion in a great number
of instances. It in fact enters, under every size and shape, into the whole
equipment of civilisation, from the railway buffer to the sight-piece of the chasse-
pot." It would be an easy matter, at the present day, to enlarge to a much
greater extent on the importance of this substance, the manufacture of which since
then has increased by leaps and bounds. Prior, however, to discussing the present
vast and multifarious uses of indiarubber, and the developments which the rubber
industry has now assumed, we must, in the first instance, glance at its early history,
a knowledge of the vicissitudes of which is in all industries so essential to the
expert therein.

It was Gonzalo Fernandas d'Oviedo y Valdas who first mentioned, in his
General History of the Indies (Madrid, 1536, L. V., c. ii. p. 165), "the Indians'
game of Batey, which is the same as the game of ball, although played in a
different manner, and 'the ball is made of a different substance to that used by
Christians." According to Morris, the first record of indiarubber was made soon
after the discovery of the New World by Columbus. The Old World rubbers
were still unknown. During the second voyage of Columbus, it was noticed that
the inhabitants of Hispaniola (Hayti) played with balls made from the gum of a
tree. This was fully 400 years ago. Father Xavier de Charlevoix, of the Society
of Jesus, 1682-1761, describes the Batos, a species of ball of a solid matter, but
extremely " porous and light. It soars higher than our balls, falls on the ground,
and rebounds much higher than the level of the hand which it quitted ; it falls
back again, and rebounds once more, although not to such a height this
time, and the height of the bounces gradually diminishes." Antonio de Herrera
Tordesillas, the Spanish historian (born at Cuellar in 1549, died at Madrid
in 1615), completed these data in 1601 in his General History of the Voyages and



Online LibraryTh SeeligmannIndiarubber and gutta percha; a complete practical treatise on indiarubber and gutta percha in their historical, botanical, arboricultural, mechanical, chemical, and electrical aspects; → online text (page 1 of 53)