Stephen Perry of Australia obtained a patent for the first vulcanized rubber bands on March 17, 1845. If they had only made their way from Australia to Andes sooner, the Calico Indians could have used them to hold their masks up.

The manufacturing process involves extruding the rubber into a long tube to provide its general shape, putting the tubes on mandrels and curing the rubber with heat, and then slicing it along the width of the tube into little bands. While other rubber products may use synthetic rubber, rubber bands are still primarily manufactured using natural rubber because of superior elasticity.

A rubber band in some regions is known as a binder, elastic band, lackey band, or gumband.

Our editing staff believes that rubber bands are important, if not crucial, to our everyday life. Here are some household hints from our shared fonts of practical wisdom. Keep them handy in the kitchen, either in a drawer or on a doorknob, or made into one neat-as-can-be ball, for securing items going into the refrigerator (also an ideal place to store your rubber bands and prolong their useful life) or onto the pantry shelf. Maybe keep some on the bedpost, handy for wrapping a pile of paper money going into the back pocket, or for gathering up that unruly hair. When out of the house, there’s always the wrist!