Thomas Hancock invented the rubber band in 1843 by slicing rubber bottles. He was an English mechanical engineer who also founded the British rubber industry.
The first rubber bands were used as garters and waistbands. However, like other rubber goods, they became brittle when cold and soft when warm. This inconsistency in texture limited the application of all rubber products.
In 1820, Hancock invented the masticator, a machine that shredded rubber. In 1839, American inventor Charles Goodyear discovered that the texture of rubber could be changed by warming it together with sulfur and lead. By 1844, he had developed a process for improving the consistency and functionality of rubber. Stephen Perry, another British inventor, patented the rubber band on March 17, 1845. The contributions of Hancock, Goodyear and Perry led to modern methods of rubber band production.