Thomas Hancock, British inventor

Thomas Hancock, British inventor

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Thomas Hancock (1786-1865), British inventor. Hancock invented several methods of manufacturing for rubber. In 1820 he patented the use of rubber springs in clothing. 15 more patents followed by 1847, including his development of the rubber masticator that allowed the moulding of rubber into different shapes. Hancock also blended rubber with different materials, including pitch and tar. In 1843, he patented a form of vulcanization, the process where rubber is strengthened by adding sulphur. Engraving from Discoveries and Inventions of the Nineteenth Century (1898).

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