Ebonite in the history of the pen
Ebonite was invented by Charles Goodyear in 1839. He realized that by mixing sulphur and latex and heating it, he obtained a rigid and black material instead of an elastic one. The colour obtained and the consistency of the material are very close to that of ebony (heartwood) hence its name Ebonite. His brother, Nelson Goodyear will commercialize this material in 1851. Ebonite was to become the very first material used in the manufacture of fountain pens. Numerous brands such as Waterman and Parker then used it in their manufacture.
In 1990, Recife, which was already committed to sustainable development, became the first manufacturer in the world to redesign writing instruments made of ebonite.
Ebonite and sustainability
Ebonite was developed in the middle of the 19th century at a time when the materials were still “naturally” natural. Ebonite is made from latex – sap from the rubber tree – a sustainable and renewable resource found in tropical forests. The latex is harvested in a way that preserves the rubber tree and excludes deforestation, thus preserving the essential role of forests in capturing CO2 from the atmosphere. Ebonite is fully recyclable.
Preservation of local ecosystems
Harvesting latex from the rubber tree is an ancestral tradition. It allows to valorize natural resources and to perpetuate local jobs. It thus encourages the sedentarisation of populations in their traditional living areas.
Did you know ?
Ebonite is often used to make musical instruments such as clarinet mouthpieces, saxophone mouthpieces but also for bowling balls and rubber tank liners.