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If Not Gutta, Then What?


Steph
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We recently discussed some marbles which looked like this. This one was put into boiling water which softened it so that pieces could be pinched off. The pieces were sent in for laboratory tests.

The conclusion about this one, if I understand correctly, is that it is not a polymer material. Rather, it is a cellulose material with wood and some rosin. That would mean it is not gutta-percha since gutta-percha is a latex, which is a polymer emulsion. (Again if I understand correctly.)

The question now is, do you have any ideas what the name of the material might have been? Or any names at all for any old materials which you even suspect might be related. For example, the name Elastolin has been suggested. Any others?

I'm not clear on whether this mib has any clay in it. Need to double check. Maybe Snyd will weigh in.


mysterymarble005_70pct.webp

mysterymarble003_70pct.webp

 

A few wiki links for perusal:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gutta-percha

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latex

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elastolin

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In those day's every toy manufacturer has his own secret recipe for a composite to make for toys.

Germany has made many toys of a certain composite,such as dolls,toy soldiers,items for doll houses etc...

Here we call it simple composition or sometimes Gutta percha.

Oh and Elastoline is a trademark of toy soldiers made of a secret composite.

Thats all I know about it.

winnie

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hmm.. not sure I follow this, gutta starts out as a latex, but it is changed and used as several different forms. You say rosin. rosin, if I am correct with the term, is also something made from trees and pitch etc. The old mantel clock casements made from Gutta are considered a type of resin, pre bakelite. Yet they are still gutta. Heating anything gutta will change the structure dramtically, making it soft. I think the marble is Gutta. We (the IAMC) sawed one in half. It gave off sparks! I think the basic confusion is trying to figure out what else it was mixed with!Pure gutta? probably not, composite with gutta? I believe that gutta is pre-elastolin. gutta was being used as early as the middle 1800's, where as elastolin wasn't being used until the 1920's or so.(without looking it up.lol)

just a thought anyway.........

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Yeah, I got the impression that Elastolin was associated specifically with toy soldiers. But didn't want to pull it out of consideration unless I was sure. The lab guys were asked about whether the material could be "sawdust, a glue such as casein, and clay (kaolin)" (the description of Elastolin from Wikipedia) and they said that would be in line with what their read-outs were saying.

I got back in touch with Snyd. He is sure that no polymer at all is present. A clay base in the rosin to hold the wood and fiber together is still a possibility. Not all old materials are identified with present day equipment. He gave me a nice lesson on what rosin would have meant in the old days. It could be made in different ways. Locals would use what was easy to get and workable, and probably not edible as food was scarce and valuable and not for use in making toys. So pinning down the material might require knowing where the ball was made and what local trees and clays there were.

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Elastolin was one of the manufacturers who made toy soldiers and there were other manufacturers who made them such as Hausser and Lineol.

The composite (in those days a secret recipe),was a malleable substance that was puched in a mold to get his form.

Here are 2 soldiers which belonged to my late brother.

The left one is Lineol and the right one Elastolin.

winnie


Winnie_Lineol_Elastolin.webp

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This reminds me of oakum, except with sawdust instead of hemp. It might also be an offshoot of a log home chinking recipe (2 parts clay, 1 part sifted wood ashes, 1/2 part salt, Water to mix). In that particular recipe, salt acts as the cementing agent.

It looks like the surface is a separate material in your pictures. Perhaps the colored skin is latex (gutta-percha) paint?

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Very interesting - Does it smell like hash? Lol. Burnt rubber or elastomers usually smell pretty acrid when lit up, I'd expect a rosin to smell a bit better. Try lighting a bit of the core on fire and see what it smells like (or if it melts or burns or resists heat). Destructive testing is sometimes the only way to go. Glad someone made a sacrifice for the cause.

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Very interesting - Does it smell like hash? Lol. Burnt rubber or elastomers usually smell pretty acrid when lit up, I'd expect a rosin to smell a bit better. Try lighting a bit of the core on fire and see what it smells like (or if it melts or burns or resists heat). Destructive testing is sometimes the only way to go. Glad someone made a sacrifice for the cause.

I would like to just chirp in for a minute. Please be very careful if burning and smelling fumes. Many of the good old people in the plastic industry are now suffering with health issues because the quick old fashioned way to determine different plastics was to light it until it flamed, then blow it out and inhale and smell the smoke (fumes). If you have been in the industry long enough you can learn the smells of different plastics. Now we know of chemicals that are bad, yet in the old days no-one knew. Be careful please. This is why we now have equipment to smell and do analysis for us.

SNYD

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Rosin Balls, kind of catchy

yes. lol.

In those day's every toy manufacturer has his own secret recipe for a composite to make for toys.

Germany has made many toys of a certain composite,such as dolls,toy soldiers,items for doll houses etc...

Here we call it simple composition or sometimes Gutta percha.

Makes sense.

I'm not going to go on a campaign to get people to stop calling them gutta percha. It's just interesting to learn more about them whatever they're called.

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I would like to just chirp in for a minute. Please be very careful if burning and smelling fumes. Many of the good old people in the plastic industry are now suffering with health issues because the quick old fashioned way to determine different plastics was to light it until it flamed, then blow it out and inhale and smell the smoke (fumes). If you have been in the industry long enough you can learn the smells of different plastics. Now we know of chemicals that are bad, yet in the old days no-one knew. Be careful please. This is why we now have equipment to smell and do analysis for us.

SNYD

Thanks for the advice!

(And thanks for your extensive help on this one, John.)

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I would like to just chirp in for a minute. Please be very careful if burning and smelling fumes. Many of the good old people in the plastic industry are now suffering with health issues because the quick old fashioned way to determine different plastics was to light it until it flamed, then blow it out and inhale and smell the smoke (fumes). If you have been in the industry long enough you can learn the smells of different plastics. Now we know of chemicals that are bad, yet in the old days no-one knew. Be careful please. This is why we now have equipment to smell and do analysis for us.

SNYD

Absolutely good point. Don't inhale. Wear your PPE and use common sense. Don't smell anything directly and if you absolutely have to take a whiff, use the wafting technique. Even without smelling you might be able to tell something by how it reacts to heat.

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