Friday, November 18, 2011

Rubbermaid Coasters Kar Mat Miniatures and History of Rubbermaid

Hello, what are these?  Available at Primitive White House on Etsy.

Check out these strange rubber finds.  Supposedly these are miniature kar-mats replicas that were being made as coasters.  Now I don't know if this was a joke or a factory sample or what.
From Primitive White House on Etsy. 

The actual kar-mats by Rubbermaid I scoured old books, and I first found them in print in 1949.  Mention of them being made by the The Wooster Rubber Company located on F. Bowman St., in Wooster, Ohio just as they are marked.  However, one edition called them  "Rubbermaid Kar-Rugs." (Ironically mispelled as Kar-Rues.)
Rubbermaid was started by a few men in Wooster, Ohio. It wasn't actually called Rubbermaid at it's launch in 1920.  They made toy balloons and other rubbery articles.  Later, a dustpan in a department store was discovered by one of the owners, Mr. Errett Grable. It had been made by James Caldwell.  Mr. Grable contacted Mr. Caldwell and this is how Wooster and Rubbermaid products came to be.  Soon, Wooster was making Rubbermaid,  and thanks to one dustpan, this saved Wooster Rubber from financial ruin.  
 This early picture of Wooster Rubber Company can be found in the Rubbermaid Archives.

Older articles from the mid 1930's to the early 1950's examples will have the Wooster Rubber name and the name Rubbermaid, such as the coasters above.  In 1957 Wooster Rubber officially changed the name to Rubbermaid, so articles made during or after this date probably won't have the Wooster Rubber logo.  In 1999, Rubbermaid was bought out by Newell and now still making housewares and Rubbermaid products, but the conglomerate is called NewellRubbermaid.

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