About Rubber Stamping

Rubber stamping is the process in which some kind of ink or pigment is applied to a stamp and then used on a surface. The rubber stamp can be made by carving, molding, laser engraving or vulcanizing an image on a sheet of rubber. The rubber is generally mounted on something that is sturdier than rubber and the various materials that can be used for this include wood, plastic, brick or acrylic block.

The history of rubber stamping is linked to the discovery and understanding of rubber. Prior to the creation of rubber stamps, metal printing stamps were created and these were mainly made from brass. However, the life of metal stamps was low and they survived for less than a decade before rubber stamps were invented. You may be able to appreciate metal stamps more easily if they were referred to as seals that used wax to secure documents.

Some feel that Spanish explorers started talking about a sticky substance that was used by South American Indians. Therefore the Indians were already using rubber stamping in a way to mark and tattoo men and women. Charles Marie de la Condamine sent some 'India rubber' back from the Amazon in 1736 to be studied. The name for the substance was however, associated with the ability to remove a pencil mark from paper.

Charles Goodyear is said to have discovered the process by which rubber can be cured in 1844. He is said to have discovered this process while he was experimenting in the kitchen and he accidentally dropped rubber and sulfur onto a hot stove. This process later came to be known as vulcanization; named after the Roman God of Fire, Vulcan.

The first rubber stamps were made as early as 1866 but the early stamps mainly consisted of letters and numbers to mark packages. Vulcanised rubber stamps were also used to make denture bases. Picture stamps were created later and were used as educational stamps. These were used by German artist Kurt Schwatting in his collages.

Rubber stamping started to grow as a hobby in the 1970's. Companies such as All Night Media and Hero Arts started to emerge and soon the art became a craze among the youth. It was also used in conjunction with other forms of craft like scrapbooking and textile printing.

California is called the home of 'art stamps' since the place has various stores that sell only art stamps and materials that can be used to create rubber stamps. Rubber stamps fall into mainly three categories - office stamps, those used for decorations and children stamps that are used for playing.



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