Back in the 20th century, rubber bands were known as one of the most convenient products. They were used by several individuals and industries for a good many purposes. From government offices to agricultural industries, rubber bands were used for organizing, sorting and delivering products and services. To sum up, more than 30 million pounds of rubber bands are sold in the United States alone each year.
By the second decade of the 21st century, rubber bands were elevated to rubber wristbands, the trending accessory among kids, teenagers and adults alike. New businesses involving customized rubber wristbands also appeared in the market. With the variety of uses the bracelet can have, people avail of the accessory because of its inexpensive cost as well.
Rubber is the fundamental material in bracelets and bands. The material is derived from a plant that is grown in equatorial climates. European explorers discovered rubber in the Americas and Christopher Columbus brought back Mayan items that were made of rubber – waterproof shoes and bottles.
Several hundred years later, the other characteristics of rubber were discovered. Hardened pieces of it could be used to erase pencil marks. Dissolving rubber in turpentine produces a liquid that waterproofs cloth.
The age of the rubber wristbands started back in 1843. It was developed by Thomas Hancock by slicing up rubber bottles from New World Indians. This first edition of rubber bands was used as garters and waistbands, but their usefulness was limited due to its unvulcanized characteristic. Two years later, Hancock invented a machine that resembles rubber vulcanizing and together with Thomas Perry, they patented the rubber band and opened the first rubber band factor.
At the same time, the British fostered the development of rubber plantations and manufacturing businesses. They spread out to their colonies, such as Malaya and Ceylon. Because of the warm climate in Southeast Asia, the rubber plantation thrived, bringing the European rubber industry to success as well.
For a while, the hype of the rubber industry began to die down. Fortunately, sports became an important aspect in today’s society, and the rubber wristbands found its way back to the scene.
However, rubber bands have so much more to offer than just being bands to sort or bind things with. Pop culture claimed the importance of rubber bands and turned it into something different that appeals to a lot of people.
In the early 2000’s, a famous cyclist named Lance Armstrong popularized the wristbands into a medium for certain messages. He produced yellow wristbands as accessories that bore the word ‘livestrong’ on its surface. This campaign was made in order to support the fight against cancer. The world of sports, and the rest of the population, supported the campaign and a new use for rubber bands was formed.
The rise of rubber jewelry paved the way for the growth of rubber bands’ popularity. It found its way into pop culture and appealed to every kind of audience. At the same time, it also found an alternate medium that promotes important messages to a wide range of audiences.
Rubber wristbands were then promoted to another level when customization of the accessory was made possible. After Lance Armstrong’s successful campaign, other advocacies and organizations followed the strategy. Companies also made use of the rubber accessories as advertising materials to promote their brands.
For some people, rubber bands are ordinary household items that are used for keeping loose things together. They can also be used as hair ties or wire cable ties. Others see it as an investment or part of their industry. But the younger generation will most likely see it as a piece of jewelry.
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