Lead: Born of wartime calculation, the manufacturers of plastics, an outgrowth of the chemical industry, sought peacetime application for military discoveries.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Rubber is a polymer, naturally occurring molecule, chemically composed of a string of smaller molecules called monomers. It was first put to practical use in the 1700s by chemist Joseph Priestly who discovered that it could rub pencil marks off paper, hence the name rubber. By World War I, however, rubber was far more than a school supply. It had countless uses particularly in wartime applications, but the sources for rubber were in Allied hands, therefore German chemists developed a synthetic rubber from acetone. The search for a synthetic rubber led some chemical companies to seek other uses for man made polymers.


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