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Facts about rubber
Natural rubber used for making rubber bands is made from latex emulsion collected from the rubber tree, called Hevea Brasiliensis.  It planted in very large plantations in tropical countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. 

   Below is a brief timeline of landmarks in the advancement of rubber:

1493 - 1496 : Christopher Columbus discovered natural rubber in Haiti where he saw the natives there playing with ball made from the "sap" of a tree called "cau-uchu."
1736 : Natural rubber was introduced to the western world by Charles de la Condamine.
1770 : John Priestly found that natural rubber could erase or rub away pencil mark, hence he called the material "rubber."
1820 : Thomas Hancock invented a machine called "masticater" that allowed the rubber to be softened, mixed and shaped.
1839 : Charles Goodyear discovered the process of vulcanization.  Vulcanization involves heating the natural rubber which causes a complex chemical change to occur.  But in layman's terms, vulcanizing gives rubber its elasticity and other desirable properties so that it's useful.
1876 : Sir Henry Wickham collected some 70,000 seeds and secretly carried them to London from Brazil. Later years, these rubber trees were planted in large scale in Asia (in places such as Ceylon and Singapore) as well as Africa.


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