Pre-Columbian functional equivalents of vulcanization and their significance for the history of rubber

  • Rubber is one of the most important materials in the modern world. The substance has a dual history: one part played out in Central and South America, where rubber was already being used in pre-Columbian times. The other part took place in North America and Europe, where rubber in a certain sense was reinvented. This article focuses on the little-known indigenous use of rubber in South America, especially in the Amazon basin, and demonstrates that the indigenous processing of rubber was in no way inferior to western rubber technology. It is shown that the indigenous people possessed a functional equivalent to vulcanization that made their rubber products resistant to wear and tear. Several arguments that aim to belittle the technological competence of the indigenous rubber technicians are discussed and refuted.

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Author:Jens SoentgenORCiDGND
Frontdoor URL
Publishing Institution:Universität Augsburg
Release Date:2014/03/27
Tag:rubber; indigenous inventions; vulcanization
GND-Keyword:Kautschuk; Vulkanisation; Kautschukverarbeitung; Gummiherstellung; Lokales Wissen
Institutes:Fakultätsübergreifende Institute und Einrichtungen
Fakultätsübergreifende Institute und Einrichtungen / Wissenschaftszentrum Umwelt
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 66 Chemische Verfahrenstechnik / 660 Chemische Verfahrenstechnik
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 67 Industrielle Fertigung / 670 Industrielle Fertigung
Collections:Universität Augsburg / Stoffgeschichten – Eine Sammlung von Texten über Stoffe und Materialien
Licence (German):Deutsches Urheberrecht