I was chatting with a colleague about custom stamps and the fact that they use vulcanised rubber for the actual stamp face. Nothing unusual in this, it’s the kind of rubber that’s used for most of the rubbery things we see around us, from tyres to washers and much else besides. But I couldn’t help the feeling that he hadn’t quite got the point.
It’s called “vulcanised” because it means the rubber was heated up and had sulphur added, which cures the rubber so it becomes hard wearing and keeps it’s shape, rather than melting back to a – well – rubbery lump every time the sun appears for more half an hour in the afternoon. The guy who came up with the process, Charles Goodyear, gave the process the name after the Roman god of fire – Vulcan.
This all seemed wasted on my colleague who had a distinctly Star Trek glaze in his eyes every time I uttered the word. I realised I was talking to a confirmed Trekkie which meant he lived in a reality beyond time and space, and so beamed myself back to my desk to get on with saving the galaxy.