Evolution of Rubber Stamps

Stamps are widely used today, be commercially or legally. Ever wondered where the idea of using something like stamps came into existence? How it eventually evolved into the one we use today. There are proofs that stamps have a rich history that date back to about 9,000 years ago. The first embodiment of the stamp was a cylindrical seal. These composite impression stamps were used to authorize business transactions and sign letters. Those cylindrical stamps would be worn on a string around the neck and if the person needed to sign something, they would take it off and roll it in moist clay to leave an impression, kind of like a signature.

Then came woodblock printing stamps, the process involved carving the images and characters into a block of wood and then applying ink on it and fabric to form an impression of the same.

In this evolutionary process, wax seals got introduced. The wax seal initially appeared in the Middle Ages, and like many seals before it was used to close official documents and seal correspondence. Wax sealing was taken up by the working classes and as it became very common. People preferred this instead of carrying around handheld stamps, those in power started to wear marked rings, a ring embellished with the owner’s seal.

The rubber stamp came about in the mid-1800s after Charles Goodyear discovered the vulcanization process. Soon after, rubber stamps became commercially feasible and were sold mainly to businesses for dating and pricing. In fact, one of the oldest existing self-inking stamps is a vintage pricing stamp circa 1886.

Modern rubber stamping is a craft in which some type of ink made of dye or pigment is applied to a carved, molded, laser engraved image or pattern, onto a sheet of vulcanized rubber. The hardened rubber is often mounted onto a more stable object such as a block of wood, brick, or an acrylic block to make it easy to hold & use with a little force. Increasingly the vulcanized rubber image with an adhesive foam backing is attached to a cling vinyl sheet which allows it to be used with an acrylic handle for support.

So, this is how a small and simple thing made its way to remain in existence.

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