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Besides, people do not yet quite know how to
screw up their mouths to pronounce properly
the very odd-looking word caoutchouc; and
therefore India-rubber will continue to be
talked about. Well, then, these Indians, after
they had collected the gum as it oozed from
the trees, and allowed it to harden, were wont
(among ether purposes) to fashion it into
bouncing balls, and even to shoe their otherwise
naked feet with pieces of it, as a means
of assisting them in ludicrous gambols and
jumpings. The sharp-sighted French
Academicians who visited South America a
hundred and twenty years ago, and who saw
whence and how the Indians obtained the
gum, had evidence that the gum not only has
great elasticity, but also great power of
resisting the passage of liquids through its

It was left for modern times to apply those
valuable properties to really valuable
purposes. Little do we think, when making use
of the many articles now manufactured in
this substance, how it has to be torn, and
dislocated, and rumpled about before it
assumes the proper texture and smoothness.
The Indians who collect the gum. and usually
fashion it into grotesque forms by drying it
upon clay cores modelled according to their
ideas of artistic beauty, do not take much
pains to exclude dirt, or bits of twig, or
fragments of stone; all which must be
removed before the gum is fitted to play its
part in the world. What torture it undergoes!
It is cut into minute fragments by a
savage slashing machine; it is washed in
warm water, to get rid of so much dirt as
chooses to take its departure on such gentle
urging; and then, in a dry state, it is crushed
and kneaded with appalling severity: it is
rolled over and over, distorted, crippled,
penetrated to the heart, sliced, thinned, thumped,
heaped up again into a mass, cut into lumps,
squeezed againuntil at length every vestige
of dirt or stone, of water or air, is driven out,
and the mass becomes thoroughly
homogeneous. In this state it is pressed with
great force into iron moulds, which give to it
the form of cubes, slabs, or cylinders,
according to the purposes for which it is destined.
And then, when these blocks or other shaped
pieces are to be used, they are cut into sheets,
or are spun into threads, or are melted
for liquid purposes. Great ingenuity is called
for in all these processes; for India-rubber
has a strong propensity to be wayward: it
becomes hot and angry when meddled with;
and all the tools and machines employed in
working it speedily assume such a heated
state as to be unfit for use unless plentifully
deluged with cold water.

Among the facts which recent years have
lirought to our notice concerning American
industry, is the untiring perseverance with
which the useful applications of India-rubber
have been studied. A certain Mr. Goodyear,
of Connecticut, who devoted nearly a quarter
of a century to the study of the manufacture
of caoutchouc, has brought over-shoes
(those objects of Sam Slick's especial
commendation) to greater perfection than any
other enthusiast devoted to that elastic
subject; and they exhibit but one among
many indications of his success. American
over-shoes may be regarded in two lights,
as both elastic and waterproof productions.
The raw material of Mr. Goodyear's
competitors would and did stiffen when cold; and
it has hence been his object to surmount the
difficulty. In this, it is perhaps no more than
justice to say that he has succeeded. His
shoes resist cold; they have an extensive and
permanent elasticity; and two of their
surfaces may be pressed together without
adheringall valuable qualities. It is said
that there are upwards of twenty large
establishments in the United States, involving a
sunk capital of immense amount, in which
Mr. Goodyear's patented inventions are
worked by license. Among these is the
Hayward Rubber Company, of Connecticut.
Over-shoes are the sum and substance of
these operations; and the Exhibition Jury
writing on this subject tell us that the Hayward
Company alone manufacture three
thousand pairs every day. The India-rubber
odds and ends made in those large factories
are almost endless. Waggon springs, elastic
maps, balloons, sponge bags, tobacco-pouches,
hair-cushions, mattresses, life-boats, buttons,
knife-handles; it would not be easy to select
a list more diverse than this.

It is in the combination of India-rubber
with other substances that we may probably
look for the most valuable future addition
to its usefulness. Mr. Hancock of London,
and Mr. Goodyear of Connecticut, it is now
known, were busily engaged for many years on
such inquiries; each was ignorant at the time of
the other's doings, and both have rendered a
good account of their labours. Mr. Hancock's
vulcanized India-rubber may be an oddly-
named substance; but it is not the less useful
for all that. He discovered that when a thin
piece of India rubber is dipped into and
impregnated with melted sulphur, and
afterwards heated to about three hundred degrees
Fahrenheit, it acquires new and peculiar
properties, without losing any of the advantages
possessed by it in its original state. This was
an important discovery, and he practically
carries it out in the following way. The
India-rubber, while yet soft from the effect of
the kneading process, has sulphur well mixed
up and incorporated with it. So long as the
mixture remains cold, the gum has not
changed its properties; but, after having been,
heated to three hundred degreesa temperature
sufficient to chemically decompose pure
caoutchoucit puts on many new and striking
qualities; it is no longer soluble in the
liquids which will dissolve India-rubber; it
no longer becomes rigid when exposed to
cold; it no longer adheres when two pieces