Corrugating and Washing Rubber Just Received from the Plantation, Akron, Ohio.
This picture was taken in a great rubber goods factory in Akron, Ohio. The rubber is being washed by passing through great rollers over which water is flowing. Washing is the first thing done to rubber after it arrives in our factories from the tropics. The rollers also "corrugate" the rubber; that is, they press the surface into grooves and ridges. This is a sort of kneading process which breaks up particles of solid impurities in the raw rubber and thus aids materially in the washing process.
Rubber tree grow in hot countries. The tree are very tall and straight. Their bark is much like that of our beech trees. Under the bark is a gummy fluid. This fluid is called latex. From this latex, crude rubber is made. To get the latex the trees are gashed or tapped. The gummy fluid flows slowly into pails set to catch it. A pail of latex looks much like a pail of milk. Just as cream rises on milk, so rubber rises to the top of latex.
A workman builds a smoldering fire of leaves and nuts. Then he dips a paddle into the latex. Next he holds the paddle over the fire until the heat evaporates the water, leaving on his paddle a thin coating of rubber. He then dips his paddle again into the latex and again holds it over the fire. He continues doing this until his paddle has on it a thick coating of rubber. Then he cuts off the rubber and rolls it into a ball. The balls are taken to market and shipped to factories. In some countries rubber is thickened by the use of an acid.
Brazil, Ceylon, the East Indies, Africa, and Mexico all export crude rubber. Much of the rubber used in this country comes from South America. Para, Brazil, is a port noted for shipping great quantities of rubber.
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