It was not long before Thomas Hancock (1786 – 1865), the founder of the British rubber industry, saw the potential of the invention and acquired a licence from Charles Macintosh to produce double-layer, waterproof materials. Hancock had, incidentally, found out that rubber becomes plastic and formable when it is rolled, a property that enabled rubber to be used on an industrial scale. On the basis of the vulcanisation process developed by Charles Goodyear (1800 – 1860), an American chemist and inventor of such products as hard rubber (ebonite), Hancock designed and built rubber processing machines. To make sure that a complete picture is presented, it should be mentioned here that the two of them – Goodyear and Hancock – had filed a patent for the vulcanisation process. In a subsequent patent dispute, priority was assigned to Goodyear.
So Thomas Hancock took Charles Macintosh’ invention, i.e. the impregnation of textiles, and improved it via the vulcanisation process for which he filed a patent application in 1843. Initial problems with rubberisation, such as the intensive odour, stiffness and poor washability in hot water, were overcome. The authentic Macintosh raincoats were entirely hand-made and had glued rather than sewn seams. An interesting fact on the side: in the course of time, it became more common to spell the name with “ck”, probably due to the fact that the brand name needed to be publicised not only in England but also worldwide and/or because spelling it with “ck” was more usual at the international level.
Macintosh recognised what his licensee Hancock had achieved and invited him to join his company Charles Macintosh & Co. as a partner in 1831. It was the start of a long and successful partnership. The names Macintosh (“mac”) and Mackintosh (“mack”) still guarantee excellent rain clothing, the origins of which all the way back to 1824, to this day.