The word “stamp,” as used in historical documents, is not particularly explanatory. Neither is its cousin phrase “hand stamp.” Early historical references to either can easily be mistaken for references to rubber stamps and this is not always correct. A basic assumption must be made that if the word “stamp” is used to refer to a marking device prior to 1864, it does not refer to a rubber one.
The early days of rubber stamping and their creation are inextricably entwined with those of early dentistry. Around the same time that Goodyear received his patent on vulcanizing, anaesthesia was patented by a fellow named Wells.

hand-stampRelatively speaking, Wells’s discovery made getting your teeth pulled a moderately painless experience, so teeth were being pulled left and right. This meant, of course, that the demand for false teeth was rising proportionately. Before vulcanization, denture bases had been made primarily of gold and were both costly and difficult to make. After vulcanization, denture bases could be made of vulcanized rubber set in plaster moulds. This process did not demand a great deal of skill, and soon scores of dentists had small, round vulcanisers with which to ply their trade. These were called “dental pot” vulcanisers and would be used eventually to manufacture the first rubber stamps.

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