Recently, I purchased several hundred rubber stamps at an estate sale. As I was sorting through all of these beautiful rubber art designs, I began wondering about their history.
Rubber was first discovered in 1736 by Charles Marie de la Condamine during an exploration to South America. However, in 1770 a man named Joseph Priestly stated that he found a substance that was suited to rubbing out lead pencil marks. In 1839 Charles Goodyear invented the process of vulcanization, the stabilizing of rubber. He went on to patent this process in 1844. About twenty years later, the first rubber stamps began to appear.
According to the United States Patent Office, Fred R. Tannery of New York filed a patent for the rubber stamp on August 18, 1959. This was a hand held invention with the structure of a rubber stamp that had changeable characters.
Rubber art stamps are extremely popular in the United States. With their intricate design rubber stamps are used for many different types of paper and ink applications, such as handmade greeting cards and scrapbooks. They may also be used with other techniques to decorate textiles, jewelry and pottery.
Over the years, many rubber stamp companies have come and gone and many of the stamps have now become collector’s items. One such company is Personal Stamp Exchange (PSX), which was founded in 1980. Wood mounted stamps manufactured by PSX are known for their high-quality craftsmanship featuring very detailed illustrations. PSX closed down in the early 2000’s with the licensed images being sold to Inkadinkado. The scrapbooking company, EK Success then bought Inkadinkado and was in turn purchased by Wilton Industries in 2007.
Azadi Earles stamps are known for their whimsical nature. Azadi Earles Stamp Company was bought out by Uptown Rubber Stamps.
One of the original art stamp companies is Uptown Rubber Stamps which was founded 35 years ago. This company is still in existence today now operating under the name of Uptown Design Company.
A truly unique line of rubber stamps is this stamp set of male faces from Alexstamping. This company was in operation from 1984 -2013.
I would be totally remiss not to include one of my favorite stamp companies, Stampin’ Up. Beginning in 1998, this home-based company began with two sisters that shared a love for rubber stamps. In 1997, the company published its first catalog featuring artwork exclusive toStampin’ Up. The company started with just a few demonstrators and has now grown with thousands of demonstrators selling Stampin’ Up rubber stamps. Many of their retired stamp sets are highly valued by collectors.
Now comes the difficult decision – which of these wonderful rubber stamps do I keep for myself and which go into my Etsy Shop? To see our complete offering of over 180 rubber stamps visit us at DesignsByCnC.