The History of Rubber Stamps

Rubber stamp history

If you’ve ever wondered how self inking stamps became such a necessary part of our day-to-day business operations, let’s take a quick look at the history of rubber stamps.

According to the online resource site, “How Products are Made”, the story of rubber stamps began in 1736 when French explorer Charles Marie de la Condamine discovered rubber in the Amazon River Basin. Initially, rubber was used to rub out lead pencil marks. Unfortunately, the rubber turned into jelly when the temperature rose making it ineffective. Charles Goodyear solved this problem in 1839 – partly by accident – when he spilled a mixture of sulfur and gum rubber onto a hot stove thereby curing the rubber. Goodyear named and patented this vulcanization process in 1844. However, throughout the 1800s objects used as marking devices were made from other non-rubber materials. In fact, mechanical hand stamps (made from metal) were prominent through the 1860s.

So, when did rubber stamps hit the mainstream? There is an ongoing debate as to which inventor gets the credit for creating the rubber stamp. In the first story, L.F. Witherell of Knoxville, Illinois, claims he invented the rubber stamp when he attached fixed rubber letters onto the end of a bedpost. He then used the post to mark and identify his brand of manufactured food pumps. Unfortunately, Witherell never displayed proof of this claim. The second story involves James Orton Woodruff who borrowed the vulcanizer his uncle used in his dentistry practice. During this time, rubber was ideal for denture molds, and the vulcanizers used in the process were also reportedly used for Woodruff’s rubber stamps batch production. While the solvent-containing ink later destroyed the actual rubber stamps, Woodruff’s walnut mounts remain, as well as items that were printed with his stamps.

By 1866 rubber stamps were in high demand, and the production of them became a growing industry. L.F.W. Dorman began to manufacturer vulcanizers specifically designed for stamp makers, commercializing the process. By 1892, there were 4,000 rubber stamp manufacturers and dealers in the United States alone.

Rubber stamps have come a long way, and it’s now possible to get custom stamps for any of your needs. Whether you collect pre-inked stamps for your personal hobbies and scrapbooking, use rubber stamps for your personal shipping needs, or rely on stock stamps for your business paperwork, rubber stamps are easily customizable to your exact preferences.

Rubber stamps and business

Many businesses today rely on custom stamps to save time and money, as well as to ensure that paperwork is properly documented. In fact, many of our customers at utilize the full range of our self inking stamps, – ordering pre-inked stamps in various forms such as our Endorsement Stamp, Self-Inking Return Address Stamp, Pay-To Stamp, Signature Stamp, and Stock Stamps. Self inking stamps are refillable and provide you with the ability to create thousands of clear impressions.

When considering restocking your business supplies, think about which rubber stamps make the most sense for your day-to-day tasks. Rubber stamps can simplify and save time in every task from writing out return addresses to filling out checks. It may seem insignificant and a little silly when considering the time it takes to write out your return address, but if you add up the many times someone in your office has to do this everyday, a self inking stamp can really streamline the process. Custom stamps or custom computer checks (paired with accounting software programs that electronically track all of your transactions in real-time) can save you time and allow you to focus on other important (and more profitable) aspects of your business.


This article is made possible by For more than 35 years, has provided over 500,000 businesses with high quality business checksdeposit slips, and other banking supplies with easy ordering and fast production times; all at the guaranteed lowest price in the nation. Our discount business checks are easily customizable and compatible with over 4,500 software programs including QuickBooks® and Peachtree®. Email or call us toll-free at 800-245-5775 or visit us online at

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