Chapter 8Supply-Side Innovation

During World War II the main source of rubber came from trees grown in the Southwest Pacific and was under Japanese control. In response to this dilemma, the United States searched desperately for a synthetic rubber or rubber substitute. In 1943, General Electric engineer James Wright was attempting to create a new synthetic rubber by mixing boric acid and silicone oil. He came up with a product that had some very unusual properties. When dropped from someone’s hand, the material bounced to a higher height than when it was released. It was impervious to rot. It was also soft and malleable. It could be stretched many times its length without tearing. Finally, it could copy the image of any printed material with ...

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