In 1845, Stephen Perry, proprietor of a London rubber manufacturer, was issued a patent for "Improvements in Springs to be applied to Girths, Belts, and Bandages, and Improvements in the Manufacture of Elastic Bands."
"We make no claim to the preparation of the india rubber herein mentioned," he wrote, "our invention consisting of springs of such preparation of india rubber applied to the articles herein mentioned, and also of the peculiar forms of elastic bands made from such manufacture of india rubber."
Today, rubber bands remain big business. For more than a century, Kyowa Co. Ltd. has been one of the primary sources of this indispensable item that holds the world together. Here's how they're made: