Brisé Cockade Fan (USA), ca. 1865
The words "Man’f Company Lambertville Goodyear Patent," stamped in tiny letters on the handle of this fan provide the key to its material. The Lambertville Manufacturing Company was active in the 1860s in the manufacture of vulcanized rubber. Natural rubber, tapped from tropical trees, is a "plastic" polymer material, which can be formed or molded, but in its natural state it is sticky, odiferous, and perishable. It does not hold its shape when exposed to heat, and becomes brittle when exposed to cold. In the vulcanization process, natural rubber is heated with sulfur, making it harder and less susceptible to temperature changes.
Various patents for vulcanized rubber were granted to Charles Goodyear and his brother between 1839 and 1860, transforming rubber from an impractical manufacturing material to a vastly important resource used to manufacture tires. The fan functions beautifully as a promotional souvenir commemorating one of Goodyear’s patents, showcasing its improved properties.
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Its dimensions are
H x W (open): 34.3 x 24.4 cm (13 1/2 x 9 5/8 in.)
It is inscribed
One guard is stamped: "Man'f Company Lambertville Goodyear patent."
Cite this object as
Brisé Cockade Fan (USA), ca. 1865; drilled vulcanized rubber, silk ribbon; H x W (open): 34.3 x 24.4 cm (13 1/2 x 9 5/8 in.); Gift of Mrs. Henry Woodward Haynes; 1951-106-3
In addition to Making Design, this object was previously on display as part of the exhibition Faster, Cheaper, Newer, More: The Revolutions of 1848.