Whether as functional clothing, a fetish or a fashion statement, whether in car tires or sealing rings: latex is part of our world. For some, the fabric still has something disreputable, some would prefer not to wear, feel or smell anything else. In our multipart story, we follow the fabric, its production and its history and get to the seams. Today: the early history of latex.
The history of latex is a history of misunderstandings…or something like that. Long before Western subcultures discovered the substance for themselves, the milky sap of the rubber plants was cultivated and used in Southeast Asia as well as in Central and South America. Even today, one speaks of a rubber belt that stretches around the globe and can be found in tropical regions. The rubber tree probably originated in Brazil and spread from there, also under the name rubber tree. It belongs to the large spurge family, of which there are around 7,500 different species. The natives of Central and South America called the tree „weeping“, „bleeding wood“or „tears of the tree“. That doesn‘t just sound more romantic, it also sums it up a lot better. But more on that later.

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