As the second most elastic material in the world, following steel – measured by their ability to return to their original shape under the same amount of force – rubber is continuously produced due to its versatility and applications across various industries. Its soft texture and shape-retaining qualities have led the textile industry to incorporate rubber into threads, resulting in the production of specific types of clothing suitable for active use. Massive quantities of rubber threads are now being produced on a substantial scale, as manufacturers have found them easier to weave, knit, and even braid. Furthermore, clothing made from rubber threads also exhibits higher resistance to deterioration from continual use and washing.
When did rubber thread first come into use in the textile industry?
The use of rubber threads in the textile industry's fashion can be traced back to the 1800s when Thomas Hancock, famously known as the father of the rubber industry, sliced the blocks of rubber he had brought into 5-inch threads. He demonstrated how this material could be transformed into items requiring high elasticity, such as stockings, gloves, belts, and more. Despite this, the rubber thread he invented was still susceptible to breakage when exposed to light, grease, and sweat - all common factors when a material is worn directly on the human body.
The discovery of the vulcanization method in the 1830s marked a significant advancement. Rubber threads produced using this method were tougher and much more elastic than before. The inclusion of vulcanization in the rubber thread manufacturing process has remained crucial to this day. In 1930, a new form of rubber thread emerged. Manufacturers began using rubber containing latex exclusively, enabling more efficient commercial production. After the addition of accelerator agents, antioxidants, and coloring matter, the rubber was processed to create bright, vibrant-colored threads. These threads were not only stronger but also more comfortable when in direct contact with human skin.
The present usability of rubber threads in textile
When used in clothing construction, rubber thread is typically covered with other well-known textile threads such as rayon, cotton, and nylon. The rubber thread is usually placed at the core's center. Covering the rubber thread serves to balance it so that when the covered rubber thread is hung down, it remains straight without twisting into a corkscrew shape. Another benefit of using covered rubber threads, also known as covered threads, is that the textile material enveloping the rubber core helps control their stretch. This prevents the rubber thread from overstretching and thus preserves its shape when used in clothing.
There are several reasons why rubber thread is important to be used in textile and fashion industry :
Covered rubber is commonly used in garments with waistband components, such as men’s and women’s briefs and gym clothes. It's not limited to waistbands; covered rubber is also employed in the construction of entire garments, like swimwear, due to the elastic comfort it offers the wearer, ensuring swimmers don't feel restricted when moving underwater.
Resistance to wear and tear
The durability of rubber thread makes it a popular choice for clothing production since it can withstand the repeated cycles of washing and stretching in the laundry machine.
As mentioned earlier, rubber thread performs exceptionally well when combined with other textile materials. There are limitless possibilities for mixing rubber thread with a wide range of fabrics and materials, allowing designers to create textiles with diverse performance characteristics.
Image by Yuliiaka on Freepik
In summary, rubber thread plays a vital role in various aspects of our daily lives, particularly in the clothing we wear daily, which often comes into direct contact with our skin. It not only offers flexibility but, when combined with other materials, enhances durability and provides added comfort to the wearer. This makes clothing made of rubber thread capable of offering optimal support to those who wear it.
If you are in search of high-quality rubber thread for any of your needs, take a look at our products at Omnimax by PT Cilatexindo Graha Alam.