July 3, 2024

Ninety-five years ago today, E.A. Murphy and Eric Owen made the first foam rubber at the Dunlop Latex Development Laboratories in Birmingham, England, using an ordinary kitchen mixer.

Dunlop Rubber Company Limited had filed a Great Britain application on March 21, 1929, and filed a corresponding application in the U.S. on March 20, 1930, which eventually issued on April 5, 1932, as U.S. Patent No. 1,852,447:

The patent explained that “the froth or lather may be formed by beating or stirring the material with paddles of the wire mesh type or with stirrers of the type used in cake mixing
or egg beating machines or it may be formed by blowing air or other suitable gas into the
dispersions or emulsions either alone or in conjunction with beating or whipping devices. The froth or rubber dispersion thus obtained may be formed to any desired shape as for example by pouring it into open molds and permitting it to set.”

While the original foamed latex has been replaced with foamed urethanes, think how much harder (literally and figuratively) life would be without foam rubber.