Publications of our Members

Tusks & Tortoiseshell: The Early Development of the British Plastics Industry 1877-1920 Paperback – 20 Dec 2013
by Peter Charles Ashlee (Author) Available from HERE

The Hancocks of Marlborough

Rubber, Art and the Industrial Revolution – A Family of Inventive Genius by John Loadman and Francis James

This book began with the aim of telling the almost forgotten story of Thomas Hancock, the rubber developer who in his own day was acknowledged as one of the great scientific pioneers of the Industrial Revolution. But as research progressed, it was clear that Thomas and his five brothers, the Hancocks of Marlborough, together constituted a unique family which made a tremendous yet virtually unknown contribution to nineteenth-century science and art. Walter designed and ran the first steam carriages to carry passengers on the common roads of England and so began the age of mechanized transport. Thomas founded the UK rubber industry when he discovered how to vulcanize rubber reliably; his company survived for some 120 years before being taken over. Charles was a well established painter who was also instrumental in the manufacture of gutta percha-coated undersea cables, used by the electric telegraph to begin the global information highway. Other brothers, John, James and William all made significant contributions to the development of Victorian science and culture. This book tells the story of the family and the remarkable people in it, from the Great Fire of Marlborough in 1653 to the present day, using the Hancock family archive of many unpublished and previously unknown documents.

Reviewers say:

"An authoritative book that makes its scientific and mechanical subjects accessible to the general reader, it will be read through for the human as well as scientific interest of the material. The distinguishing merit of this book is its contextualization of the events of rubber development in relation to the story of the Hancock family and the business network within which they collaborated and competed. Reading this book gives a sense of the period, its idealism, the persistence and energy of these people, the diversity of innovation – failures as notably as successes – and the excitement of the time. " Ann Lane, Queensland University of Technology

"Very well documented and written in simple yet technologically accurate language." Sir Geoffrey Allen, FRS, FREng

"Written in a vivid style, as much about human problems and dynamics as about science itself." Mark Warner, Cambridge University

"The mixture of the personal anecdotes, the scientific detail and the sweep of the historical events throughout the book is impressive and intertwined with many interesting, really fascinating stories." – Mark M Green, Polytechnic Institute of New York University

Published September 2009 | Price £25 | ISBN: 0199573557

Other Books

 
Sutton Publishing
ISBN 0-7509-3849-8
OUP
ISBN 0-19-856840-1
Robert Hale
ISBN 978-0-7090-8137-1