This year synthetic rubber celebrates its 100th birthday. Patent No. 250690 for the first “process for manufacturing artificial rubber” was granted on September 12, 1909. The inventor Fritz Hofmann was at that time employed at Elberfelder
Farbenfabriken Friedr. Bayer & Co., a company whose legacy is continued today by LANXESS.
This innovation was much more inportant than is generally known. Rubber products make our life more and more comfortable through their use in vehicles and packaging, in medicine and domestic appliances, in sports and for the modification of plastics. Until Hofmann’s discovery, industry was forced to rely on plantation rubber. But the natural resource is limited and not appropriate for every application. Such a broad and varied use, as it is practised nowadays, would have not been possible without the pioneer work of Fritz Hofmann.
For Hofmann’s successors the synthetic rubber inventor’s reputation has always been both an incentive and a benchmark that the rubber chemists strive to live up to. From the outset, they have been heavily involved in the further development of the material. LANXESS rubber innovations continue to ensure that rubber remains successful in challenging technical applications amid ever
greater demands on elastic materials.