We use rubber in a variety of ways so much so it’s easy to forget where it came from in the first place. It comes from the Para rubber tree originally and the great thing about the tree is it is excellent at reducing carbon from the atmosphere. Most of the world’s rubber is now manmade but it is nice to think that its first use when it was an organic material was to make something similar to a football for the ancient Olmec civilisation to play with.
Now we are more inclined to use it for Rubber Injection Moulding but that still doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with it. Fun was not on the mind of Henry Wockham when he brought back the Para tree seeds from South America. He was more concerned with profit and planted them in England and other parts of the British Empire namely Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia. This was to inadvertently set about the creation of man made rubber. When the invading Japanese stopped the import of rubber from the East, scientists had to find an alternative. As a result most of the world’s rubber is now synthetic, and not the organic type.
So, when you are cruising down the motorway or jumping in muddy puddles just thank Mr Henry Wickam for helping harvest it and the good people of the Soviet Union who came up with the non organic stuff.