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Kansas City Jewish Chemist Joint Inventor of New Rubber Substitute

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(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

The recent announcement of the discovery of a new substitute for rubber by Nathan M. Mnookin and Dr. Joseph C. Patrick, is greeted with pride by the Jewish community of Kansas City. Mr. Monokin, a young chemist, is well-known for his activities in many of the Jewish communal organizations in Kansas City, and is one of the founders of the Order of Aleph Zadek Aleph for Young Men.

The discovery of the rubber substitute is the achievement of both Dr. Joseph C. Patrick and Nathan M. Mnookin, and climaxes the research efforts of leading chemists the world over. This product has been named Thiocol.”

The new substance looks like rubber, acts like rubber, is said to be more durable than rubber and can be used for most purposes rubber is used for, and others besides. In addition, the cost of the new substance is said to be less than half that of rubber, even at the present lowered prices.

The Standard Oil Company of Indiana has contracted for the manufacture of the product and has paid the young men’s salary and expenses formore than a year to perfect and test their discovery. A number of patents are pending now, both in the United States and other countries.

Dr. Patrick and Mr. Mnookin, who have owned and operated the Industrial Testing Laboratory for five years after they left college laboratories, and had worked side by side in other Kansas City laboratories, say they have not produced synthetic rubber. It is different from rubber entirely so far as chemistry is concerned. To them it is “thiocol,” the name they have chosen, a solid which isn’t rubber chemically but is physically. To find the secret of manufacture, they got away from the old method of trying to make rubber by creating a substance with a rubber molecule.

Synthetic rubber had been made before. But the rubber made did not develop into a commercial practicality. It was too expensive, and not nearly “rubbery” enough. Other laboratories have produced substances with the molecular form of rubber (C5 H8 2), and while chemically this substance was rubber, physically it was not. It did not bend or stretch like rubber, or have the tough resiliency to blows and abrasion, and was highly perishable.

The two Kansas City chemists explained that they do not have artificial rubber, or synthetic rubber, in the exact sense. They have not a substance that has the same kind of molecular structure as rubber, as is the case with synthetic rubber. But their product does what the many kinds of synthetic rubber previously made in laboratories have not done. It looks, acts and wears like rubber, but at the same time has a chemical constitution entirely different from rubber, they stated.

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