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Ebonite

 

 

 

Ebonite

Ebonite is a very hard rubber first obtained by Charles Goodyear and produced by vulcanizing rubber and sulfur. The resulting material, also known as vulcanite or hard rubber. is hard, brittle and non-resilient; the sulfur content is between 30% and 40%. When capitalized, Ebonite is a trademark currently held by Ebonite International, Inc. Before bakelite, ebonite was commonly used as an electrical insulating material. The name comes from the intended usage as a man-made substitute for ebony wood.

Charles Goodyear invented vulcanite in 1839 by heating rubber with sulfur for a long period of time; the process is called vulcanization and he gained a patent for vulcanization in 1843. Thomas Hancock, a British scientist, also patented a similar process at about the same time. For publicity of the new material, Charles Goodyear had his portrait painted on a sheet of the new ebonite hard rubber by GPA Healey in Paris in 1855, the year of the Paris Exhibition. You can see that portrait here: https://www.bouncing-balls.com/timeline/people/nr_goodyear.htm

Damage to ebonite can occur through high heat, strong light or prolonged exposure to water. The sulfur begins to leak out of the material, causing the shiny surface to dull and the material to flake or crumble. Ebonite hard rubber is usually black with a shiny surface. Older ebonite, however, can turn brown with age, developing a color resembling that of iron oxide particles, in other words, it can look rusty.

In the 1930's, manufacturers developed a reddish-colored hard rubber using synthetics instead of natural rubbers, however celluloids and acrylics proved more versatile and this version was quickly replaced.

The photos below show you an antique example of Ebonite over 100 years of age from France, designed as a pin brooch with the Fleur de Lis on the recto.

 

 

 

 


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All Content is © Debra Spencer, Suit Yourself™ International. Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved.
Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.

 

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All Content is ©2019 Debra Spencer, Appanage™at www.suityourself.international Suit Yourself ™ International, 120 Pendleton Point, Islesboro Island, Maine, 04848, USA 44n31 68w91 Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.

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All Content is ©2019 Debra Spencer, Appanage™at www.suityourself.international Suit Yourself ™ International, 120 Pendleton Point, Islesboro Island, Maine, 04848, USA 44n31 68w91 Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.
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