I began my working career as an analytical chemist with the Natural
Rubber Producers' Research Association (later to become the Malaysian
Rubber Producers' Research Association and then the
Razak Research Centre or TARRC) in 1967, having obtained a Master's
degree in organic chemistry at the University of Durham. I continued
in that area of work through to 1999 when I retired having reached
the position of Head of the Materials Characterization Group.
In the 60's little was known about the analysis of rubber vulcanizates
and the development of relevant and useful techniques was my specialty.
Initially the work was for internal research purposes but 'outsiders'
soon became interested in what we could do so a Consultancy unit
was set up - 'Rubber Consultants' - in the 70's to capitalize
on the Centre's unique depth of knowledge in this area
The Consultancy was soon approached by museums and art galleries
which had very specialized problems, quite different from those
experienced by TARRC's main clients - rubber producers and end
users. As I had already developed an interest in the history of
rubber, from the early Mayan days to the scandals of the exploitation
of rubber collectors in Africa and South America during the latter
part of the 19th/early 20th century, I put my two specialties
together and attempted to offer help and advice to these groups.
This is an area in which little had been published and I was
particularly interested in bridging the gap between scientist-talk
and the language of (often non-scientific) conservators. I was
thus able to work with a number of museums and art galleries as
well as help train specialist conservators.
I have lectured world-wide on topics related to the history of
natural rubber and the problems confronting conservators and am
the author of 'Analysis of Rubber and Rubber-like Polymers', 4th
Edn, Klwuer, The netherlands,1998. ISBN 0 412 81970 8.
As with most analytical chemists in the last 20 years or so,
I also became heavily involved with health, safety and environmental
concerns relating to natural and synthetic rubbers.
When I retired it was suggested that the information which I
had accumulated over many years should not be lost or dispersed
and, not wishing to embark on a book (with all the limitations
and strictures that that entailed), I decided to put the information
on a web site where it could easily be added to or up-dated as
I felt appropriate or in answer to specific requests from visitors.
The site was never intended to be of financial benefit to me
(most hobbies cost money after all). However, in 2003 I was approached
by Revertex (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd who offered to sponsor the revamp
of the site for a better look and feel. This I was very pleased
to accept and this is what you see now. Editorial freedom means
that any errors are mine alone and Revertex should take no blame!