Dec 2019
5
singapore
We take rubber for granted in our every day life, however the history of rubber is way more complex and longer than most imagine. It's use in sacred ball games leading to human sacrifice, it's story of creating the first global commodities boom and how an opera star ended up in the Amazon rain forest are all part of this story. The attached video shares the fascinating story
 
Feb 2017
526
Latin America
Certainly, but why is this in the Asian section? Rubber comes from the Americas. It's true that Indonesia and Malaysia became massive rubber plantations, but the ones who discovered and extracted and moulded it first were the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
 
Dec 2019
5
singapore
Ah! thank you for pointing this out: the video is filmed in Singapore, the location in which we found the tree that gave us the idea to make the video about the global history of rubber. It brings the story full circle from the Mayas to Asia's plantations
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,650
Sydney
what about potatoes , it led to the rise of kingdoms
sugar was , by value , the most important tropical commodity , there were wars for its control , "modern" slavery was fueled by the European demand for sugar
tobacco became a blessing for nation state finances , nothing like an addict to pay exorbitant taxes without armed compulsion
 
Dec 2019
5
singapore
Indeed! potatoes are on the list of videos to be made. I grew up in Peru and the varieties of potatoes farmed by the people in the Andes is truly astounding. The standing and impact of the potato in global culture and economics is astounding. Will keep you posted as soon as we make the video in the next 4 months
 
Feb 2017
526
Latin America
what about potatoes , it led to the rise of kingdoms
sugar was , by value , the most important tropical commodity , there were wars for its control , "modern" slavery was fueled by the European demand for sugar
tobacco became a blessing for nation state finances , nothing like an addict to pay exorbitant taxes without armed compulsion
The thing with rubber is that without it we wouldn't have insulated electricity, which made even the internet possible, and we wouldn't have tires, which made trains, cars and even planes possible. Rubber wasn't merely for agricultural productivity or finance as was the case with maize, potato or tobacco, it allowed for a fuller industrialisation and technological advancement. Gutta percha, which indigenous Malaysians had been extracting and using for centuries before the European colonisers came, is the only element that allowed a similar level of development, as it could be used for underwater cables since rubber wasn't as good in resisting ocean pressure.

New World cotton, which had much stronger fibbers and threads than Old World cotton, did allow for the spread of the spinning jenny and mule and the start of industrialisation, though. The role of these Native American resources still goes largely unrecognised by the general public.
 
Feb 2017
526
Latin America
The video doesn't mention that indigenous Americans had been vulcanising rubber for centuries. Charles Goodyear only rediscovered the process.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,650
Sydney
the first electric insulator was gutta percha , it could be vulcanized was an excellent electric insulator and had thermoplastic property
it was water repellent and was with lead and pitch the material used for submarine cable
unlike rubber prior to vulcanization it wasn't brittle
it was used for electrical isolation , furniture making and other applications

the other material used was marble for large board mounted switch-gear ( gorgeous old gear , worthy of Dr Frankenstein laboratory )
in the early 20th century Bakelite , invented by the Belgian Baekeland was used well after WW2
 
Dec 2019
5
singapore
the first electric insulator was gutta percha , it could be vulcanized was an excellent electric insulator and had thermoplastic property
it was water repellent and was with lead and pitch the material used for submarine cable
unlike rubber prior to vulcanization it wasn't brittle
it was used for electrical isolation , furniture making and other applications

the other material used was marble for large board mounted switch-gear ( gorgeous old gear , worthy of Dr Frankenstein laboratory )
in the early 20th century Bakelite , invented by the Belgian Baekeland was used well after WW2
Indeed, we have gutta percha trees in Singapore! And I own some really nice Bakelite collectibles