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Fruits of the earth: plants in the service of mankind

Para rubber production

Cover of a United States Department of Commerce publication investigating rubber productionCover of a United States Department of Commerce publication investigating rubber productionThe commercial potential of rubber, a versatile material sourced from certain types of trees is investigated in this United States Department of Commerce publication from 1926.

A total of 21 countries in the region of northern tropical America are surveyed and recommendations for investment made.

Topography, climate, soil and logistical details are recorded in the work, as the US government looks to exploit the natural rubber latex of the para rubber tree, the species most widely used in the production of rubber.

Rubber is usually shipped from its source to larger processing plants, and companies in the United States are large producers of rubber products such as adhesives, seals and hoses.

Charles Goodyear (1800-60), founder of the eponymous company bearing his name, discovered how to vulcanize rubber in 1839, and this harder product is widely utilised in vehicle tyres.

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