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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 12 (March 1, 1940)

Where to Stay

page 54

Where to Stay

page 55
Rolling rubber at Paratex, Wellington.

Rolling rubber at Paratex, Wellington.

Here is the proper scientific approach to every problem; the last word in technical equipment is here; the machinery is all of the most modern type; and there is special understanding of local requirements.

The Reidrubber institution is a splendid reason for confidence in New Zealand industrial achievement.

There are other organisations making excellent rubber goods in New Zealand, notably the modern Christchurch company, the Marathon Rubber Footwear Ltd. I paid a flying visit to Paratex Ltd., King Street, Wellington, which at present specialises in the making of balloons. This is a “dipping” process. The rubber coating adheres to rows of moulds shaped rather like Indian clubs. By an ingenious series of operations these moulds dip into the liquid rubber, held in troughs, and are slowly raised. The problem in the raising is to avoid an air bubble as the solution drains away from the rounded blunt end of the wooden mould. Only the greatest care and craftsmanship manage this task. The room where the balloons are drying is a pretty spectacle, for the colours are legion, and the array in the serried ranks drying on the racks would put an ordinary rainbow to shame.

The secret of the thin texture of balloon material is in the coloured solutions which are compounded from tried recipes. Three coats go to each Paratex balloon and the process from dipping to the final drying takes eight hours. A full day goes into the making of this dainty article whose life will be so short at a gay party, or when Junior blows too hard.

The Paratex Company has expansion plans, and I noticed rolling mills, extruders, hydraulic presses and the familiar “cookers” standing in their proper places.

The Silverco Fabrix Mat Company, Wellington, is an example of the ingenious use of waste products. The inner walls of motor tyres are unharmed by wear, and are of exceptionally tough and durable rubber. This company fabricates from these a most useful sandal, given the neat name of S.O.S. (Save our Soles). These over-sandals fit any shoe and are useful in garages, gardens, factories or any place where wet or other conditions would ruin everyday shoes. The Fabrix mat is a familiar sight with its neat patterns. The machinery is simple but effective.

The commercial utilisation of caoutchouc only emerged as the result of scientific research and long years of tedious analysis of results, and the trying and testing of endless technical methods. For the benefit of sceptics who everlastingly stress the difficulties of manufacturing goods in New Zealand, I want to point out that the older countries who make rubber articles have to import the raw materials from the same places as the New Zealand institutions. The only difference is that we are much nearer to the sources of supply.

Weaving a fabric mat at Silverco, Wellington.

Weaving a fabric mat at Silverco, Wellington.

The rest is a question of scientific planning, expert knowledge, and modernity of plant. All these three requirements are here with us in New Zealand, just as in other lines of industry. Last in the field, New Zealand gets, through the travel habits of its manufacturing executives, the best of the world's experience. As to rubber goods, we can make, using New Zealand hands and heads, all the wide range needed for the progressive development of our land.

Bound Copies Of The Magazine.

The publication of this issue of the Magazine (March) completes the fourteenth volume. Readers are reminded that they may send forward their accumulated copies (April, 1939, to March, 1940) for binding purposes. The volumes will be bound in cloth, with gilt lettering, at a cost of 5/6 per volume. Those desirous of having their copies bound may hand them to the nearest Stationmaster (with the sender's name endorsed on the parcel) who will transmit them free to the Editor, “New Zealand Railways Magazine,” Wellington. When bound the volumes will be returned to the forwarding Stationmaster, who will collect the binding charge. In order to ensure expedition in the process of binding, copies should reach the Editor not later than 1st June, 1940.

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