Natural Rubber and its Sources

R. Henriques: Der Kautschuk und seine Quellen. (Dresden : Steinkopff & Springer, 1899).

acquired in 2015

The book is the printed version of two lectures that the chemist Robert Henriques had given in 1897 and 1899. In an obituary, it was recalled that in his 1899 lecture Henriques had "captivated his audience with vivid demonstrations of how natural rubber is harvested and [described] the economic prospects of the rubber plantations in new, exotic rubber regions." Natural rubber, which is harvested from the latex of rubber trees, has played an immensely important role since the end of the 19th century as a raw material for tire production. Henriques' book provides an overview of the production of natural rubber in South and Central America, Africa and Asia. The slim volume contains an appendix with "Tables of the most important commercial types of raw rubber" and "Maps with the places of origin and export ports of various types of rubber".

The author
Robert Henriques was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1857. He studied chemistry in Heidelberg, Berlin und Strasbourg, where he completed his Ph.D. in 1881. He then moved to industry and first worked as an assistant chemist in K. Oehler'sche Anilinfabrik in Offenbach, Germany; he later headed the scientific laboratories of Kunheim Chemische Fabriken in Berlin, where the famous Berlin blue dyestuff was manufactured. In 1890 Henriques set up on his own, founding a "commercial laboratory" in Berlin. His main interest as a chemist was in "studying fats, waxes and caoutchouc goods" and the "class of aromatic compounds". Robert Henriques died in Bayreuth in 1902 at the age of 44 "as the result of a brain disorder".

Biographical sources: Berichte der deutschen chemischen Gesellschaft 35, 1902, pp. 4528-4533; Poggendorff, vol. 4, 1904, p. 617

The book in IRONCAT

"Natural Rubber and its Sources" in IRONCAT