Three Things You Didn’t Know About Rubber Bands

You might take these stretchy circles for granted, but the rubber band is actually a wondrous invention.

From office supplies to dental fixtures, the rubber band has made a name for itself. Rubber bands are made by extruding rubber into a long tube, which is then stretched over a mandrel and cut to form the extremely useful shape we now take for granted. Here are some more interesting facts about the rubber band.

Rubber Tree Plant

Most people consider rubber a synthetic material, but it actually has organic roots. BAZIC

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Even today, 40 percent of rubber comes from natural sources. The rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis, produces latex, the compound at the heart of natural rubber. This differs from sap, and is collected in a different manner. After a rubber tree has reached maturity, a narrow swath is shaved into the bark. The latex emulsion drips from the cut into a cup, producing about 19 pounds of the substance annually. The tree heals quickly, thanks to the protective properties of the latex, and each tree can be processed for up to 28 years.

Plenty to Go Around

Although lightweight and easy to store, millions of pounds of rubber bands are manufactured each year. Alliance

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The rubber band is such a part of American life that they’re just about ubiquitous. Look in an office supply room, desk, or kitchen drawer and you’re bound to find more than a few. The elastic devices are used for everything from culinary pursuits, to mail handling, even medical and veterinary uses. It should be no wonder that 30 million pounds of rubber bands are sold in the United States each year.

Kind of a Big Deal

The largest rubber band ball in the world has a diameter over six feet and weighs over four tons. Amazon

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According the Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s largest rubber band ball weighs in at an astonishing 9,032 pounds! Created by Joel Waul in Lauderhill, Florida, the giant rubber orb measures 6 feet and 7 inches across. Joel started building the ball, which he named “Megatron,” in 2004 and kept at it until November 13, 2008, when Guinness officials certified it as the largest in the world. All told, there are approximately 700,000 rubber bands in the gigantic sphere.