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Rubber Bands: A silly history of fun and utility.

Updated on July 8, 2011

One of Many Uses

Rubbered Work, Elastic Fun

Every once in a great while an invention comes along that stuns the imagination and awes audiences. This is the case with the common every day rubber band. An item first invented by Stephen Perry who owned a rubber manufacturing company in London. Perry came up with the idea to create loops of elastic rubber to hold items like paper and envelopes together. But, the uses didn’t stop there. Once introduced into the public, the tiny rubberized bracelets evolved into a type of pastime and found multiple used in both work and play. Today you can purchase rubber bands in nearly any store you enter and they are included in the top five items found in desk drawers.

A Bit of Science

Many people believe that rubber bands are primarily synthetic rubber/plastic.  However, only a small percentage of rubber bands contain synthetic materials. Most rubber bands are manufactured using natural rubber because of its exceptional elasticity. Natural rubber comes from a rubber tree plant and is extracted by tapping into the bark of the tree in much the same way sap is extracted from a maple tree for syrup. Natural rubber becomes more elastic in cold temperatures and less elastic in warm conditions.

How to Make a Rubber Band Gun

How to Make a Rubber Band Airplane

11 Uses for a Rubber Band

Although rubber bands where first created to hold papers and envelopes together the uses never stopped there. Below are 11 uses both fun and efficient for rubber bands.

1. Power for your balsa wood model airplane.

2. Make a sling shot.

3. Make a car racer.

4. Used colored Rubber bands to mark items in non-see-through packages.

6. Mark the level of paint cans or other non-see-through cans on the outside.

7. Create a working paddleboat.

8. Make a giant bouncy ball!

9. Make a holder for your car visor by wraping rubber bands around lengthwise.

10. Wrap around objects so they become non-slip. Works well on cutting boards.

11. Keep sliced apples fresh by cutting the apple and then rubber banding it back together for eating later. This will keep them from turning brown.


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      Starlance 7 years ago

      Thanks for that tip dosters. Is there anything they can't do?

    • dosters profile image

      dosters 7 years ago from Chicago

      Rubber bands are also the cheapest jar opener in the world! Just wrap the rubber band around the lid, and suddenly it is 100% grippy and easy to remove.