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Previous | Next Home > Timeline > 1876 - 1913
H Wickham 1876 Brazil
Dispatched about 70,000 hevea seeds to Kew. 2397 germinated.
  1876 Singapore
50 seedlings arrived from Kew. Died due to neglect.
R Cross 1876 Brazil
Brought hevea seedlings to Kew.
King Leopold II 1876 Belgium
Leopold II of Belgium opened an International African Conference which gave birth to the Association Internationale Africaine (ASA).
HM Stanley 1877 Belgium Congo
He completed his three year journey from the east coast of Africa to the west coast, following the River Congo.
R Cross or H Wickham? 1877 Singapore
22 seedlings arrived. Survived. Ridley said "Basis of virtually all Asian trees today".
W Curie 1877 UK
Patented rubber golf balls.
  1878 West Africa
Rubber exports totalled 220 tons.
  1877 / 1878 Ceara
A great drought, ½ million died, the rest fled – many to the Amazon basin to provide the tappers so desperately needed.
W Abbott 1878 UK
Invented the sulphur chloride vapour cure process for curing thin films – balloons, medical gloves etc.
G Bouchardat 1879 France
Repolymerized isoprene to "rubber".
I Adams 1881 USA
Developed electrolytic deposition of copper or silver to provide interface between metal and rubber.
V Kreussler &            E Budde 1881  
First patent for barrier protection of rubber vulcanizates.
H Trimen 1882 Sri Lanka
Sent trial samples of rubber to the UK for evaluation.
H Low 1883 Malaysia
Arguably sent the first Malaysian rubber to the UK.
CA Burghardt 1883  
Noted that copper accelerated degradation of vulcanized rubber.
F Shaw 1883 UK
Founded Francis Shaw (Rubber Engineers). He started as an engineer with C Mackintosh.
G Daimler 1884 Germany
Produced a light-weight four stroke petrol engine which would fit in a ‘horseless carriage’
P Lacollonge 1884 France
Patented ebonite tank linings to hold corrosive liquids.
C Macintosh 1884 UK
LE Waterman 1884 USA
Patented ebonite fountain pens
  1884 USA
The ‘State’ of the Congo which Leopold had created and controlled through a series of confusingly named companies was recognised by the USA.
  1884 UK
The India Rubber Journal ( IRJ) first published

Daimler & Benz

1885 Germany
R. Dick 1885 UK
Proposed gutta percha for power transmission belting.
EGW Browne & JC Margetson 1885 UK
Founded Avon Rubber. Tyre division taken over by Coopers in 1997.
  1885 Belgium Congo
Exported first African wild rubber.
Moseley 1887 UK
Patented ‘Flexifort’ a tyre cord with 98% warp and 2% weft which eliminated the abrasive degradation problems associated with conventional fabric-reinforced tyres. Used by Dunlop in his 1888 tyres. Nevertheless, fabric reinforcement lasted through to the end of WW1).
  1886 UK
Southern Rubber Co, founded.
  1887 Belgium Congo
30 tons of rubber exported.
J Swann 1887 UK
Left Leyland Rubber to start the British Rubber Co.
J Iddon 1887 UK
He also left Leyland Rubber to start Iddon Bros. Ltd. Machinery manufacturers.
HN Ridley 1888 Singapore
Took over Botanical Gardens and began a one-man crusade to develop rubber plantations.
JB Dunlop 1888 UK
"Reinvented" the pneumatic tyre but now bicycles and vehicles were available to use it.
Michelin 1889 France
Groupe Michelin formed.
H Du Cros &             JB Dunlop 1889 UK
Launched Pneumatic Tyre Co. Later to form Dunlop Rubber Co.
WS Halstead 1889 USA
First use of rubber gloves in the operating theatre (made by Goodyear Rubber Co.).
HC Pearson 1889 USA
Founded the journal, ‘India Rubber World’ in New York.
A Smith 1890 UK
Founded the Scottish India-Rubber Co.
  1890 Amazonia
20,000 tons exported out of world production of 30,000 tons.
  1890 Belgium Congo
130 Tons exported.
WE Bartlett 1890 UK
Developed tyre rim designs essentially similar to today’s.
T Korzeniowski 1890 Belgium Congo
Korzeniowski (Joseph Conrad) gathered enough experience in six months to write the semi-autobiographical 'Heart of Darkness' and 'An Outpost of Progress'.
JW Williams 1890 Belgium Congo
In an open letter to President Harrison he coined the phrase ‘A crime against humanity’ in describing what was happening in the Congo.
JG Araujo, JC Arana & The Suarez brothers late 1800’s to 1920 Amazonia
The three great overlords, all 3 specialising in torture, maiming and murder to amass their millions (JGA in the ‘Manaos’ region) (Suarez, 16,000,000 acres in Bolivia centred at Cachuela Esperanza). (JCA 14,000,000 acres in Colombia and Peru). Arana is the most documented because of the ‘Putumayo atrocities’ (see below).
Leopold II 1891 Belgium
Issued a secret decree banning natives from selling rubber and ivory and demanding action from his agents to secure them for the State (i.e. himself).
Leopold II 1892 Belgium
He split the Congo into 3, one for himself, a second for his cronies (and by ’98, 50% for himself) and a third for Colonel North (financed by Leopold).
W Tilden 1892 UK
Synthesised ‘rubber’ from synthetic isoprene.
T Robins 1892 USA
Developed heavy duty rubber belting for moving iron ore.
US Rubber 1892 USA
US Rubber Co formed. Later to become Uniroyal and eventually part of Michelin North America Co.
LJ McNutt 1892 USA
Discovered how to make channel black.
GL Porter 1894 UK
Harborough Rubber Co. specialising in boot and shoe soles, heels etc.
GL Hille 1894 UK
New Eccles Rubber and Cycle Co. launched to make rubber balls.
T Rowley & H Grimshaw 1895 UK
British Recovered Rubber Co. Ltd. Founded. Possibly the first limited company for reclaiming waste rubber.
HM Stanley 1895 Belgium Congo
200 Miles of railway completed from the E coast to Stanley Pool. Five years in the building and several thousand lives.
Tan CY 1895 Malaysia
Made the first true commercial plantings of hevea in Malacca.
Michelin 1895 France
Introduced the first pneumatic motorcar tyre which was fitted to a specially designed Daimler. The car took part in the Paris-Bordeaux-Paris race of that year and finished ninth out of forty two entrants.
  1895 Malaysia
Firs practicable rubber estate.
R Henriques 1895 Germany
First person to record that solvent extraction of rubber resulted in poorer ageing properties.
Goodrich 1896 USA
Introduced the first pneumatic motor car tyre in the US.
HJ Doughty 1896 UK
Patented the first ‘whole tyre’ curing process (Dunlop Rubber Co.).
HN Ridley 1897 Malaysia
Advocated the hevea tree above all others for rubber production in Malaysia.
HN Ridley 1897 Malaysia
Developed and promoted a tapping method very similar to that used today. Gave much improved yields and extended the useful tree life.
LJ McNutt 1897 USA
Commercial production of channel black.
BW Richardson 1897 UK
Adapted the idea of a rubber-bulbed scent spray to spray anaesthetics – also used by Lister for antiseptics.
WH Cox 1897  
Patented a machine for making hollow rubber balls.
W McKinley 1897 USA
President McKinley proposed rubber cultivation in appropriate US possessions – American ‘rubber gold’ rush. By 1910 planting abandoned and by 1920 virtually nothing left.
C Haskell 1898 USA
Patent for golf ball made of a core wound with stretched rubber thread and coated with gutta percha applied for.
F Seiberling &            C Sieberling 1898 USA
Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Co. formed.
Michelin 1898 France
The “Michelin man” appeared for the first time.
J Perkins 1899 Malaysia
  1899 Sri Lanka
1st Plantation rubber shipped from Sri Lanka.
JC Arana 1899  
Started rubber trading in the Putumayo region of NW Amazonia.
  1899 UK
The first ‘sterling capital’ company launched for rubber cultivation in Malaysia (The Selangor Rubber Co. Ltd.).
  by 1900  
Ebonite had many uses because of its corrosion resistance –pumps and battery cases being two major industrial applications.
World production of NR approaches 50,000 tons.
R Casement 1900 Belgium Congo
Set up the British Consular Service in the Congo, travelled in the bush and reported on the atrocities he had seen.
Firestone 1900 USA
Firestone Tyre and Rubber Co formed.
Michelin 1900 France
Michelin introduced grooved tyre treads.
J Kondakov 1900 Germany
Synthesised polydimethylbutadiene (methyl Rubber).
E D Morel 1901 UK
Morel, an employee of the shipping line which was used by Leopold II became so sickened by what he had discovered that he resigned and set out to destroy him.
Goodyear & Ford 1901 USA
Goodyear enters motor racing with Henry Ford.
Sir C Dilkes 1903 UK
Raised E D Morel’s findings in the Houses of Parliament and Leopold was savaged by Parliament.
HW Brett 1903 Malaysia
Harrison & Crosfield got involved in rubber as agents to and shareholders in the Petaling Rubber Estates Syndicate.
SC Moke 1904 UK
Discovered the ‘reinforcing’ properties of carbon black in giving extra strength to a vulcanizate.
E D Morel & R Casement 1904 UK
Set up The Congo Reform Society.
R Ditmar 1905 UK
The first appreciation of zinc oxide as a ‘reinforcing’ filler.
  1905 South East Asia
2,500 tons shipped out of Malaysia and Sri Lanka. (World output 56,000 tons) 100,000 Acres planted to rubber. By 1915 close to 3,000,000 acres had been planted in this region.
  1805 UK
Guthries became involved with rubber through as agents for Linggi Plantations Ltd.
E D Morel 1906 UK
Published his damning inditement of Leopold – ‘Red Rubber’ Leopold was in retreat.
G Oenslager 1906 USA
First chemical to "accelerate" vulcanization (Aniline) then diphenylthiourea (DPU).
Diamond Rubber Co. 1906 USA
Used Oenslager’s accelerators to make tyres and realised they had improved ageing characteristics.
TW Miller 1906 USA
Patented the moulded rubber hot water bottle.
SC Mote 1906 UK
First practical use of carbon black as a rubber filler.
  1907 UK
The Rubber Growers’ Association was launched in London by prominent representatives of plantations in Sri Lanka and Malaysia.
JC Arana 1907 UK
Peruvian Amazon Co formed in London with control of 800,000 acres in the Putumayo region.
  1908 Belgium
Government passed an Act ‘freeing’ the Congo and also ‘bought out’ Leopold for £2,000,000 and took over many of his debts (since he had hidden most of his assets).
Wo Ostwald &          W Ostwald 1908 Germany
Patented aniline and similar chemicals as antioxidants.
  1909 US
After months of rumour ‘The Truth’ detailed many of Arana’s company’s atrocities.
Leopold II 1909 Belgium
Died with a known estate of some £5,000,000. He had spent millions more and perhaps 10-15,000,000 natives died to produce 75,000 tons of rubber under his regime.
F Hofmann 1909 Germany
Patents process for making synthetic polyisoprene.
Pickles 1910 UK
Suggested that natural rubber might consist of very long chains of isoprene units.
  1910 Congo
Belgian Congo/French Congo and Angola produced about 50% of all African rubber over the 1st decade of the century.
  1910 World
Wild rubber production around 85,000 tons (50% Amazonian, 25% African, much of the rest from Mexico) and 11,000 tons of plantation rubber.
R Casement 1910 Bolivia
Enquired on behalf of the UK into the Putumayo atrocities and confirmed them.
C Harries 1910 UK
Prepared cyclized rubber.
SV Lebedev 1910 USSR
Polymerized 1,3-butadiene to give a rubbery material (BR).
  1910 World
Wild rubber peaks at about 90,000 tons p/a. Plantation rubber (Malaysia/Sri Lanka) passes 10,000 tons p/a.
Collins 1911 UK
Patented a process for polymerising styrene.
  1911 Malaysia
Many Chinese immigrants arrive to ease labour shortage in the plantations.
R Paredes 1911 Peru
An investigating judge, he confirmed that the rumours concerning Arana were true and, indeed, the situation was even worse.
E Fickendly 1911  

Noted that certain phenolics could prevent rubber oxidation – 40 years before introduction of ‘phenolic antioxidants’.

  1912 UK
Government published the Casement papers relating to the Putumayo atrocities.
Goodyear 1912 USA
Goodyear built the first US airship.
Ostwald 1913 UK
Deduced that rubber degradation was autoxidation.
  1912 / 1913 UK
The house of Commons found the UK directors "culpably negligent in the ‘Putumayo affair'". The company was wound up but Arana could not be prosecuted in the UK and continued much as before. It is estimated that between 1900 and 1910 the Putumayo yielded 4,000 tons of rubber at a minimum cost of 30,000 native lives.
  1913 UK/Belgium
The Belgium courts finished untangling Leopold’s legacy and the Congo Reform Association disbanded.