Vulcanite

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Vulcanite 2016-12-06T05:35:22+00:00

Vulcanite

  Smokers pipe in shape of footballer's leg Vesta case showing Edward VII Moulded vulcanite brooch c1900
Smokers pipes - stockinged legs and revolver Vesta cases 1900s Vulcanite cigarette holders

The vulcanisation of natural rubber with sulphur was discovered by Charles Goodyear in the USA about 1839 and was patented by Hancock in England in May 1843 and Goodyear in USA in June. Patents for hard rubber (vulcanite) were granted to Hancock in England in 1843 and to Nelson Goodyear (brother of Charles) in USA in 1851.

Mouldings in vulcanite (hard rubber) were exhibited by both Hancock and Goodyear at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

The material is most commonly black in colour and has been used to make combs, buttons, vesta cases, jewellery, fountain pens, pipe stems (both plain and decorative), musical instruments, etc.; it was also widely used as an electrical insulator and for chemically resistant linings. A reddish colour was used for denture plates until superseded by celluloid and acrylic. A reddish material rippled with black was popular about 1930 for fountain pen and pencil barrels. It was originally based on natural rubber but since the 1930s has been based wholly or partly on various synthetic rubbers.