Man-Made Fibers: Rubber

We’ll have a Spinzilla update next week, once I’ve had time to gather myself.  For now, let’s look at another man-made fiber.

Rubber was first made into fibers in 1850 by cutting sheets of rubber into thin slivers.  Later, in 1930,  U.S. Rubber Company (now UniRoyal, Inc.) developed a way to make rubber fiber via an extrusion process.

Rubber fibers can be made with either natural or synthetic rubber, the former being made from plant sap while the latter is made from petroleum.  The fiber is extruded as a single filament.

This filament is often used as a core wrapped in other yarns.  The other yarns protect the filament from abrasion.  This creates a very stretchy yarn which can be used as bands, elastic webbing, or surgical supports.

The Hand-Spinner

As a monofilament, rubber as a “fiber” doesn’t have much application for the hand spinner.


Rubber-based yarns are great for the spinner.  My favorite use of elastic yarns is to provide a core for an art yarn.  I spin the yarn with the elastic stretched, then allow it to collapse down on itself, giving the new yarn unique textures.  The art yarn can then be worked up either stretched or unstretched to create a range of qualities in the finished fabric.

Man-Made Fibers Fact Book, , Man-Made Fiber. Producers Association, Inc. 1978.

Rubber fiber. (2016, May 10). Retrieved September 23, 2018, from


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