Gasket Technology: An Overview on Its History and Evolution

08 January 2018

If you are reading this blog then the odds are pretty good you know what a gasket is — and for that, we are grateful. Gaskets are used every day in industries across the span of the human experience. From engineering massive automobiles to finishing off projects in your garage, gaskets have their place in the grand scheme of things. At Gasketech, we realise that our customers don’t always just want to know what they can use their gaskets for. Sometimes, our customers want to know why our products are the way that they are. For that reason, we decided to dust off the tome of history in order to give you an overview of gasket technology. Let’s go back and time and see where the first gasket came from and how the technology has evolved over the years.

The History of Gaskets

In order to fully appreciate gaskets, and their evolution, we should start by explicitly stating what exactly they are in a scientific sense. Basically, a gasket is a seal that is placed between two surfaces. Gaskets range in terms of size, shape, and material but they are almost always flexible and typically more useful after extensive compression testing. Now that we have a basic understanding of gaskets, let’s put our time-traveling hats on and head back to the 1800s.

In 1820, gaskets were first made out of iron fillings, water, and sulphur powder. These ingredients combined to create what we now call an iron sulphate seal. If we go further back in time and loosen up our definition of a gasket, we’ll see that people once even used Oakum rope that was beaten, tarred and heavily caulked in order to seal the hulls of nautical vessels. For essentially 100 years, this was more or less what a gasket was.

The first great leap in gasket technology came by way of a company named Whitby Chandler Ltd, which was founded in the early ’20s over in the United Kingdom. Whitby Chandler Ltd became one of the first large-scale gasket suppliers in the world and they are cited as being one of the most instrumental forces in the proliferation and development of the technology. Thanks to the work done by this company, gaskets would continue to evolve over the years and we would see new materials being continually tested to try and improve upon the design. From asbestos (yes, that asbestos) all the way to rubber, metal, neoprene, and fiberglass we have seen gaskets continue to evolve and innovate. Now, you can find any option you require through our catalogue.

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