Important acquisitions

100 years of guttapercha

Author Chalmers, Thomas
Title 100 years of guttapercha
Imprint R.&J. Dick, Ltd
Date of Publication 1946
Language English
Notes This book was published by the firm of R.&J. Dick of Glasgow to celebrate the centenary of the company, and is a fascinating document of Scotland's industrial history. Robert and James Dick were born in Kilmarnock and in the 1840s were apprentices in Glasgow. In 1843 the first samples of guttapercha (latex gum) arrived in Scotland, and in 1846 the brothers saw the possibilities of this product and formed a partnership for the manufacture of cheap rubber shoes. The 'Dick cheap shoe', the book tells us, was a 'byword in the vocabulary of the working classes'. A factory was built at Greenhead, and the firm prospered. The shoe market declined, but guttapercha was discovered to be good insulation for electrical cables, and the firm's product was used in the laying of transatlantic cables. Robert Dick also used Balata, another form of latex, to produce the 'Dickbelt' - industrial-strength belting used around the world. He was a scientific experimenter and friend of Lord Kelvin, while his brother was the financial wizard - James died a millionaire, and left his fortune to charity. The book still has its dustjacket, illustrating the 'Dickbelt' and guttapercha footwear, and still contains the original compliments slip from the firm.
Shelfmark H1.204.283
Reference Sources The book itself
Acquired on 06/02/04
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