Britain can boast being responsible for many things, Fish & Chips, the Computer, the telephone, the light bulb, the Television the list literally goes on and on. But one which might not automatically spring to mind is Waterproof fabrics and yet how essentially to our lives, particularly at this time of year is it ? OK then, starter for ten, What was the name of the inventor of Waterproof Fabrics ????
The answer is Thomas Hancock, who was an English inventor who founded the British rubber industry. He trained as a cabinet-maker and in 1815 Hancock is recorded as being in partnership with his brother Walter in London as a coach-builder. Hancock’s interest in rubber seems to have originated from a desire to make waterproof fabrics to protect the passengers on his coaches.
Hancock experimented with rubber solutions and in 1825 patented a process of making artificial leather using rubber solution and a variety of fibres. His choice of solvents, coal oil and turpentine was probably influenced by Charles Macintosh’s 1823 patent. In the same year he began working with Macintosh to manufacture his “double textured” fabric. So on 21 November 1843, Hancock took out a patent for the vulcanisation of rubber using sulphur, 8 weeks before Charles Goodyear in the US (30 January 1844).
Jump foward nearly two hundred years, give or take and Daniel Dunko, who previously owned Mackintosh, until he sold it to a Japanese firm in 2007, and was then looking for a new challenge to inspire him. Dunko in 2012, joined forces with Gary Bott, who he had worked with in turning the fortunes around on Mackintosh. Together they created the Hancock brand through historical research and discovery of a Personal Narrative written by Thomas Hancock in 1856.
In June 2012, Hancock launched to a global audience and international markets were opened with stockists including Barneys New York, Beams, United Arrows, Tomorrowland,La Rinascente and Mr Porter. Following this official launch, Hancock began discussions with Converse regarding a new partnership.
The fruits of this labour, are the all-new Converse Jack Purcell x Hancock Wetland sneaker. With a water-repellent galosh-inspired upper, the Shoe provides a sleek and stylish way to protect your feet from all-weather wear.
Built with weather protection in mind, the Converse Jack Purcell x Hancock Wetland sneaker’s upper is partially covered in Hancock’s signature Mastic Grey rubber to ensure water-repellence. With the added benefit of a dual layer vulcanized textile for added warmth, the weatherized sneaker is designed to brave the elements. The sneaker’s upper, inspired by Thomas Hancock’s original patent, also features a subtle zipper closure that allows for customizable wear.