Rubber is something which is used in all of our lives but most people do not know too much about it. This is why it is always fun to read about interesting facts regarding rubber and rubber-based products. Here are some of the most interesting facts as determined by rubber experts.
1. Natural rubber actually originates in South America. It comes from a tree called the Hevea brasiliensis. The tree naturally produces the “sap” from which rubber is produced when the tree is wounded. It weeps from the tree and is harvested by either locals or corporations who own parcels of land.
2. The rubber tree has long been heralded as a great boon for the environment. This is because it helps to sequester carbon in the atmosphere. Not only can the tree be harvested to make 100% natural rubber but it helps to clean the air as well. It is almost as if it is a wonder plant.
3. The first historically-documented use of rubber was actually in a sports game. An ancient people known as the Olmecs boiled the latex goo that seeped from the tree and formed it into a ball. They then played sports games with it which were similar to modern-day football and basketball. That’s pretty creative considering they had no rubber applicators at the time.
4. Rubber trees found their way overseas by way of legendary explorer Henry Wickham. He brought seeds for the trees to such overseas countries as England, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia. They were quickly planted and the rest, as they say, is history.
5. Artificial rubber was created during World War II. During this time period, the Japanese army were holding rubber tree plantations hostage and not allowing the export of the crucial material. Other countries began investing in research in how to create artificial rubber and the Japanese were defeated at their own game.