history of science

Watch: The humble rubber band has a very curious history (and that's not stretching things too far)

For many years, there was just rubber. No bands.

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It’s easy to get, affordable and fairy strong. The rubber band can be used as a playful weapon, it can help keep long hair off your face, and generally brings chaos to lives in disarray.

Did you know that rubber bands were officially patented less than two centuries ago, though? But that doesn’t mean they aren’t much older.

Researchers discovered recently that Mesoamerican folks were already making rubber around 3,000 years ago. They could create sturdy objects with it, ranging from sandals to balls and even jewellery.

A little bit of confusion and several centuries later, the famed British chemist Joseph Priestley (who also discovered oxygen) realised that this material so many people had been obsessed with could easily erase pencil marks from paper, thereby inventing the extremely useful writing tool known as the eraser, and named it “rubber”.

The trajectory that the material took soon afterwards had little to do with rubber bands, though.

While Englishman Thomas Hancock managed to mass-produce rubber in 1819, and even worked out a way to put the waste rubber to good use with his own designs, he had not realised the practicality of rubber bands yet. Over the next few years, he did successfully turn rubber into a commercial product.

Meanwhile, American engineer Charles Goodyear discovered his vulcanisation process after several experiments. The material he came up with was hard, elastic and strong. By 1844, he had perfected the process and taken out patents for it in America.

The conflict began when he tried to take the process abroad, when he realised that Hancock had patented a similar method in 1843. After a long court battle, Hancock emerged the winner.

While rubber strips began to be used to tie bundles of material together in factories, it was a man named William Spencer from Alliance, Ohio, USA, who made rubber bands a household item in 1923. He cut spare rubber pieces into circular strips. Why? He wanted to wrap newspapers with these bands to prevent them from blowing across his and neighbours’ lawns.

Strange beginnings, by any standards, but soon afterwards the product, well, stretched into becoming a very useful item of everyday use.

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These GIFs show you what it means to miss breakfast

That monstrous roar is your empty stomach.

Let’s take a glance at your every day morning routine. You crawl out of bed, go for a quick shower, pull out and wear your neatly ironed clothes at the speed of light and then rush out of the house, making sure you have your keys and wallet in place.

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You walk into office, relieved because you have made it to work on time. Stifling yawns and checking emails, you wonder how your colleagues are charged up and buzzing with energy. “What is wrong with these people” you mumble to yourself.

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Slowly, you start to change. You start snapping at colleagues and start arguing with your computer. You take out your frustration on anything or anyone in sight.

To add to the aggressive behaviour, you’ve completely lost your focus. After some time, you simply forget what you were doing.

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Unable to bear the hunger pangs, you go for a mid-morning snack. It is only when a colleague asks you for a bite do you realize that you have developed into a fully formed, hunger fueled, monster. Try not to look at yourself in the mirror.

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If only you had spared not even twenty or ten but just 5 minutes in the morning and not skipped breakfast, your story would look completely different - as you will see in this video.

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The fast dip in your mood and lack of focus is because your body has missed its most important meal of the day – breakfast. Research has shown that skipping a meal, especially in the morning, worsens the mood because there is a drop in the blood sugar. This in turn affects the levels of serotonin and dopamine, the chemicals produced in the brain that control our moods and feelings. In simpler English, not having breakfast is going to make you really cranky and confused!

Morning is also when the body needs maximum nutrition to function efficiently through the day as you’ve just woken up from a full 7 hours of no food (and if you’re sleeping less than that, that’s a whole other article).

So in short, having a breakfast could make you go from looking like the earlier GIFs to this:

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But with changing lifestyles and most people hard pressed for time, a healthy breakfast is taking the backseat. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. MTR has come up with a range of widely loved Indian delicacies like Poha, Upma and Halwa which can be made in (hold you breath) just 3 minutes! All you have to do is add hot water and wait for 3 minutes to get a delicious and filling breakfast.

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These amazing and delicious breakfasts can be made in a jiffy and consumed with the least hassle, even in the midst of your frenetic morning routine. So grab your #MTRbreakfastin3 to start the day on an awesome note.

Click here to make breakfast a part of your morning routine.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of MTR and not by the Scroll editorial team.