How Raincoats Were Invented?

Have you ever wondered how the raincoat invention affected our lives? This question may have come to mind in a rainy days every time you wear it or see someone wearing it. Discovery of raincoats are loved and often used as protection during rainy days. Same as umbrellas, but the only difference is that you can wear this thing to protect your entire body from getting wet.

Raincoats are also called Macintosh in English. The name can be attributed to Charles Macintosh (1766 – 1843), a chemist who came from Scotland. In 1823, Macintosh was testing various materials in his lab to find out waterproof material rather than raincoat itself.

The Story of how raincoats are invented.
istock

Invention of The Raincoat

There had been many attempts to waterproof fabric effectively in the early part of the nineteenth century. However, the actual method discovered by Charles Macintosh. During his tests, he was experimenting with the gaseous waste products of coal. He noticed that coal-tar naphtha dissolved rubber demonstrating its waterproof qualities.

The rubber was sticky and smelled really bad. He solved the first problem by pressing two different plates together with rubber between them, resulting in a waterproof and usable material. He patented a process for bonding melted rubber to wool, which made the fabric waterproof. He founded the company Macintosh to sell his fabric to raincoat makers.

Charles Macintosh who invented a waterproof material that are widely used in raincoats

However, this situation had one handicap: its smell. The waterproof raincoats that are used even today have a distinctive smell. Due to this bad smell, waterproof raincoats in the early days were not very popular except for use in the army.

The Role of Thomas Hancock

Later, British Thomas Hancock obtained a license to manufacture and improve a two-layer waterproof material and added more rubber to the macintosh mix, making it more efficient and less smelly. As a result, the Macintosh recognized Hancock’s work. In 1831 Hancock, has become a partner of the Chas. macintosh & co. company.

Thomas Hancock and Charles Macintosh founded Chas. Machintosh & co.

For further readings on this topic, you may check Britannica, Development of the natural rubber industry, Thomas Hancock, Charles Macintosh and his Famous Coat

For finding similar topics, you should check: science