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RW's evolution mirrored industry's needs.

RW's evolution mirrored industry's needs

In marking the 100th year of publishing, we are going to journey through Rubber World's history from its inception to the present with a glimpse as to what it might be in the future.

The rubber industry is far older than 100 years, and the intent here is not to document 100 years of elastomer history, but rather the evolution of a trade publication and its involvement with those 100 years. Along the way you'll learn something about magazine publishing and a lot about the industry.

In its beginning, Rubber World attempted to be a newspaper, as the editors called it, that covered the entire scope of what then represented the rubber industry. The editorial material was geared for those who grew rubber, traded rubber, manufactured rubber products and the people that sold rubber goods. "We propose to aid materially the scientific and the mechanical development of business in India rubber gum, gutta-percha, and kindred products, by giving the manufacturer all meritorious information procurable as to old and new methods and compounds... knowledge... as to the workings of factories... the results of practical experimentation according to satisfactory formulas and desirable patented processes... new inventions... patents granted... and new goods introduced to the market," wrote P.F. Mottelay, the magazine's first editor. Mottelay sold his interest in the paper after three issues to Henry Pearson.

Pearson and John R. Dunlap were the forces behind the magazine. Pearson, as editor, and Dunlap, as publisher, headed up India Rubber Publishing, headquartered in New York City. Pearson bought Dunlap out in 1900 and remained editor until 1920. In 1926 he sold the company to the Edward Lyman Bill Publishing Company, which later became Bill Communications. Bill sold the magazine to the present owners, Lippincott & Peto Inc., in 1983. Job H. Lippincott, publisher, and John W. Peto, vice president sales, were long time Bill employees of Rubber World.

Throughout the editorial and ownership changes, the main editorial content has not changed much from what Pearson set out to do with the magazine. The Rubber World of 1989 contains similar information to its initial publications of a century ago. The biggest change that has occurred over the years is in the readership. Whereas a good percentage of today's readers are rubber chemists, there was no such animal 100 years ago, and the editorial pages reflect this. Today's RW has substituted articles about rubber products and marketing with technical editorial material concerned with the manufacturing of rubber products.

On the following pages you'll find articles pertaining to today's rubber industry, how we got where we are, and what to look for in the near future. Interspersed are sidebars that give a glimpse of how various events in the rubber industry were initially covered.

India Rubber World was edited and printed in New York City and was primarily distributed in New York and the New England states, then the center of rubber product manufacturing in North America, but it also had international subscribers.

Early editorials made mention of a group of editors working on the magazine, but none other than Mottelay and Pearson appeared on the masthead or anywhere else in the magazine. The magazine openly solicited for contributions. The editorial page of the early issues carried this statement: "Contributions of a technical nature suited to the purposes of this paper will be liberally paid for if accepted. Correspondence relating to rubber, guttapercha, celluloid, asbestos, etc., or any of their practical applications, is correctly invited, and the cooperation of all who make a study of these specialties either a pleasure or a duty is earnestly desired."

The magazine was printed in New York City and was atypical of magazines of its day. The editorial material appeared between two sections of advertisements. The magazine was black and white. The cover was printed on a blue heavier stock paper than the body of the magazine. The ads were the first pages to show color. The first use of color appeared as an insert, a preprinted page inserted into the book at binding. The first use of full color was in 1890 with an advertising insert. The early issues used numerous illustrations to show the various new products and there were also sketches of famous "rubber men" as the magazine called those in the business. The first photo appeared in the March 1894 issue. Oddly enough it was of some "rubber men" showing off their catch on a fishing vacation.

The cover and logo have changed over the years, reflecting not only the name changes, but advancements in printing. The first cover in 1898 was on blue uncoated paper, somewhat stiffer than newsprint. The title of the book at that time was India Rubber World and Electrical Trades Review. The tag line read "Devoted to the application and development of cautchouc, gutta-percha and allied industries." Sketches of hevea guianensas and dichopsis gutta leaves accompanied the type at the top of the page. The first issue ran the contents page on the front cover, along with the index to advertisers. By February 1890, the advertiser's index was dropped in favor of an ad, and by August of 1890 the contents moved inside and a larger ad ran on the bottom half of the cover.

The National India Rubber Company, boasting the biggest and best rubber plant in the world (with a photo of its Bristol, RI facility), bought the front cover for the first seven years of publication. After that, various companies bought positions on the cover until June of 1954, when the practice of selling space on the front cover was discontinued.

In 1899, the words "and Electrical Trades Review" were dropped from the title. It was never explained why this phrase was ever incorporated because the magazine hardly ever carried anything pertaining to electricity. In his first editorial, Mottela wrote: "... we will devote our attention specially to that important branch of electrical development which has been most neglected and most needs improvement, the intelligent and progressive mechanical adaption of electricity."

Also in 1899, Hevea Brasiliensis replaced Hevea Guianensas in the artwork, with gutta-percha remaining.

The next change on the cover took place in October of 1927. The magazine's title ran across a drawing of a globe with a pair of lines running horizontally across the front. Strangely, the view showed Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, but not North or South America. A minor style change was made in 1929, when the lines were dropped and the date was put into a scroll.

Coated covers were introduced in 1937, and the artwork of the globe was dropped. In 1949, the word India was de-emphasized as the words were stacked on the left hand side of the page. India was dropped entirely in 1954. In 1955, the logo changed to fatter type, moved to the right hand side of the page and the date ran on the left. In 1959, the logo moved back to the left and was increased in size, nearly doubling. The size of type in the logo was reduced in 1960, and the title was no longer stacked. "Rubber World" ran across the top of the cover.

In 1969, the logo got a new typeface and a new position. The logo ran sideways from the center to the top of the magazine on the left hand side. The hand-made type had a "rubber" appearance. A tag line returned that stated "Technology, Markets, News." The logo returned to the horizontal position in 1971 and was widened in 1973. That logo remained until 1983. The logo has been unchanged since, as has the tag line "The technical service magazine for the rubber industry."

Editorially, Rubber World through the century has kept to the outline laid out in Mottelay's first editorial. "We propose to aid materially the scientific and the mechanical development of rubber... by giving the manufacturer all meritorious information procurable," he wrote. This has been faithfully followed by the 13 subsequent editors and editorial staffs.

Editorial content in the early issues consisted primarily of articles about new rubber products, machinery and news of the industry. Shoes, Mackintosh outerwear, garden hose, medical sundries and bicycle tires were frequently included. A good portion of the reading audience were retailers of rubber goods.

Today some of these items are found in the Techno Mart, Business Briefs, Patents, Literature and Jobs & People sections.

The items that appeared in the first magazine were departmentalized according to Editorial, Leading Articles, Miscellaneous and Correspondence. There were two other minor editorials along with Mottelay's announcement of the magazine. One was on steam vulcanization and the other was concerned with the undervaluation of English rubber goods entering the country. The Leading Articles were:

* Annals of India rubber, guttapercha, celluloid and asbestos.

* In the rubber workers' laboratory-sulphur, chloride of sulphur, bisulphide carbon and other sulphides,

* "Wrinkles" - How to prevent puffing,

* Window display of rubber goods,

* Insulated wires,

* Gutta-percha in America,

* Annals of electricity, galvanism, magnetism and the telegraph.

The Miscellaneous section was primarily composed of news and product announcements, and Correspondence included letters from various "rubber men."

The first issue carried a price list of "pigments, solvents, etc. employed in the India rubber and gutta-percha industries."

The appearance of technical feature material was sporadic in the early years of Rubber World. There were numerous articles on expeditions to find rubber in various places in South America and Africa. Most issues in the first couple years carried stories of different product manufacturers and went into detail concerning corporate financial dealings. India Rubber World also carried a directory of rubber product manufacturers in each issue beginning in 1890.

Pearson authored books on trips to various rubber forests to report on the gathering of rubber and also published in 1899 "Crude Rubber and Compounding Ingredients." This book was the forerunner of today's Blue Book: Materials, compounding ingredients and machinery for rubber.

Pearson's Crude Rubber book contained 260 pages and sold for $10. The 14 chapters comprehensively covered all aspects of the rubber industry at that time. They were:

1. Grades of crude rubber, sources of supply and physical characteristics; Para, Central, African and East Indian gums; origin of trade names; botanical details.

2. Some little known rubbers and bastard or psuedo gums; possibility of development of their use in the factory.

3. Divisions in rubber manufacture and primary processes in manipulating the gum. The washing, mixing and calendering of rubber; knowledge of gathering processes essential to intelligent manipulation in manufacture.

4. Vulcanizing ingredients and processes; sulphur, antimony, sulphides and other materials used.

5. Fillers and other ingredients used in dry mixing in rubber compounds; sources, properties and uses of various materials.

6. Substitutes for India rubber and gutta-percha. Substitutes for hard rubber and gutta-percha. Celluloid and cellulose products. Miscellaneous substitutes and compounds; history of their use and description of their properties.

7. Resins, balsams, gums, earth waxes and gumlike substances used in rubber compounding.

8. Coloring matters used in hard and soft rubber.

9. Acids, alkalies and their derivatives.

10. Vegetable, mineral and animal oils.

11. Solvents used in proofing and cementing and in commercial cements; their origin, properties and methods of use.

12. Miscellaneous processes and compounds for uses in the rubber factory; waterproofing compounds.

13. Physical tests and methods of analysis of crude rubber; specific gravity; analysis of vulcanized rubber; solubility and permeability of rubber; cravenetting; deodirization; deterioration.

14. Gutta-percha; its sources, properties, manipulation and uses; components of gutta-percha in compounds; methods of analysis.

Today's Blue Book has 10 sections on materials and compounding ingredients with this breakdown:

1. Vulcanization materials.

2. Protective materials.

3. Processing materials.

4. Extenders, fillers and reinforcing materials.

5. Auxiliary and surface materials.

6. Latex compounding materials.

7. Natural rubber.

8. Synthetic elastomers.

9. Emulsions, latexes and dispersions.

10. Coloring materials.

The magazine slowly evolved into a technical/business publication. Articles on the chemistry of rubber ingredients and adulterants as they were called, began appearing regularly during 1892. The magazine, lead by Pearson, began promoting education, the formation of technical societies and an openness within the rubber industry to share technical information. Pearson was one of the founders of the New England Rubber Club, which later became the Rubber Manufacturers Association.

The advertising reflected the evolution of India Rubber World. Whereas a good portion of the early advertisers were advertising finished goods, such as boots, shoes and bicycle tires, slowly these were replaced by those advertising compounding ingredients, reclaimed rubber and fillers. The makers of machinery for the rubber industry have been consistent advertisers throughout the century.

And when the 200th anniversary issue of RW appears in 2089, there will probably still be machinery advertisers along with the material suppliers. But just as the rubber industry of 1889 bears little resemblance to the one of 1989, the industry 100 years from now will more than likely be radically different from today. But just as in the first 100 years of RW, the magazine will evolve with the industry.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Lippincott & Peto, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Rubber World 100th anniversary
Publication:Rubber World
Date:Oct 1, 1989
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