What You Can Do About Rubber Bands
Entry for 2016-07-23


If you have a lot of rubber bands around the house you are probably having a bad time of it. There is no logical place to keep them, no rubber band drawer, so they clutter up all the other drawers and get tangled in tie pins, curlers, bottle openers, pliers, drapery hooks, and the clips of ballpoint pens—except for the one black rubber band that is always on the carpet, under a chair, curled up to resemble a spider.

To make matters worse, it is next to impossible to find out what to do with rubber bands once you own them. Home reference works ignore the subject. Certain magazines tell you how to make a lamp out of a wine bottle, draperies out of bed sheets, or a birdhouse out of Popsicle sticks. But rubber bands? Silence. In newspaper columns of household hints you can find ingenious ways to use empty jars, bleach bottles, old stockings, tin cans, and shirt cardboards. But rubber bands? Pigtails, sure, but who wears pigtails?

In their industrial advertising all the big rubber companies offer technical assistance to manufacturers and defense contractors. To the private person who has too many rubber bands, all the rubber companies offer is tires. The result is that millions of households are staggering under rubber-band surpluses that have yet to be estimated. Red ones and blue ones may be at their highest level in history, and there is no known method for determining when stockpiles approach the danger point.

But there is at last a tiny ray of hope! A crash program in rubber-band-utilization research apparently has been revved up by the Alliance Rubber Co. of Franklin, Kentucky. Working alone against tremendous odds, Alliance has developed and published an illustrated list of 116 ways to put idle rubber bands to work.

For example, you can use a rubber band to bunch fresh vegetables, hang sheer stockings, hold a key on your wrist, keep an egg carton closed, stop a faucet leak, strap a decoration to a lampshade, hold slippers on your feet, attach toys to a crib, suspend a birdcage, bundle receipts, secure a loose flashlight switch, or keep your watch from falling out of the pocket of your overalls.

A rubber band will hold a sliced loaf of bread while you wrap it, keep a rubber stamp and stamp pad together, mark your place in a notebook, protect a phonograph needle, make a water glass easier to grip, keep a corsage on the wrist, mount a table lamp on the wall, silence an electric clock, keep towels from slipping off a rack, or strap an ink bottle to a jigsaw blade when you use your jigsaw to stir the ink.

One rubber band will hold two cakes of soap together; two will hold maps and charts on your knee if you're a pilot, or even if you aren't. And if that doesn't put a dent in your inventory, try using a rubber band to plug a hole in a rubber boot, hold a flip-movie, make a slingshot, wrap fish, hang a mop, or hold the pincers of a lobster. And put one around your sleeve to keep water from running down your arm.

Without question, the Alliance Company's guidesheet is the nation's most effective blueprint, in fact its only blueprint, for getting rubber bands out of the drawers and onto the lampshades, sleeves, and slingshots where they belong.

You can get your copy of this list free. It comes with the 29-cent jumbo pack of Alliance rubber bands—the one marked, "the world's largest assortment."
Saturday Review, (1967)