I know it might sound a dumb question but whenever I come across a note on importance of vulcanization I get stuck as to the meaning of the term and why it was adopted.


2 Answers 2


According to Thomas Hancock's 1857 Personal narrative of the origin and progress of the caoutchouc or india-rubber manufacture in England

In preparing to carry out the new process on a large scale, it appeared desirable to give the mate- rial a more definite name than " the change," which I had adopted for the purposes of my speci- fication; and, whilst discussing the subject amongst my friends, Mr. Brockedon proposed the term " Vulcanization," and, as no better suggested itself, I determined to adopt it, and it is now known by that name both in Europe and America. It owes its derivation to the Vulcan of mythology, as in some degree representing the employment of sulphur and heat, with which that mythological personage was supposed to be familiar. I shall, therefore, of course use the term in the remainder of my narrative.


From Wikipedia:

Although the curing of rubber has been carried out since prehistoric times, the modern process of vulcanization, named after Vulcan, the Roman god of fire, was not developed until the 19th century, mainly by Charles Goodyear.

And from the Online Etymology Dictionary:

vulcanize (v.) 1827, "to put into flames," from Vulcan (q.v.), name of the Roman god of fire, + -ize. As a treatment for rubber, first recorded 1846. Related: Vulcanized; vulcanizing.

Who coined the word? Thomas Hancock, a British scientist and inventor:

On 21 November 1843, Hancock took out a patent for the vulcanisation of rubber using sulphur, 8 weeks before Charles Goodyear in the US (30 January 1844). He mentioned in his "Personal Narrative" that his friend William Brockendon invented the word vulcanisation from the God Vulcan of Roman mythology. Hancock did not credit himself with discovering the reaction of sulphur with rubber; he instead said that in 1842 Brockendon had showed him some American rubber samples which had been treated with sulphur.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.