In researching a little bit about the history of rubber stamps, we found this really interesting website, who have information quoted from The Rubber Stamp Album by Joni K. Miller & Lowry Thompson, 1978, Workman Publishing, New York (which is apparently currently out of print). We here in the shop were particularly struck by this section:
The early days of rubber stamps and their creation are inextricably entwined with those of early dentistry. Around the same time that Goodyear received his patent on vulcanizing, anesthesia was patented by a fellow named Wells. Relatively speaking, Wells’s discovery made getting your teeth pulled a moderately painless experience, so teeth were being pulled left and right. This meant, of course, that the demand for false teeth was rising proportionately. Before vulcanization, denture bases had been made primarily of gold and were both costly and difficult to make. After vulcanization, denture bases could be made of vulcanized rubber set in plaster molds. This process did not demand a great deal of skill, and soon scores of dentists had small, round vulcanizers with which to ply their trade. These were called “dental pot” vulcanizers and would be used eventually to manufacture the first rubber stamps.
Interesting, no? This site has an overview of the various methods through which rubber stamps are manufactured as well as the varied history of the different components in rubber stamps, and this site has a timeline of the invention of those different items. And if you’re wondering what those components look like, and their other uses, have a look here.