Rubber has a long and rich history many don’t consider today because it’s so common.
The native peoples of Central America had perfected the use of natural rubber more than a millennium before Westerners discovered it. Rubber’s natural water-resistance and durability make it a prime weather-proof covering for things like boots. The rubber was always meant for the road.
Grommets appeared in the world at a similar time. Europeans started to punch metal eyelets into cloth to make the cloth more durable when it was tied to something.
Put these together and you get a rubber grommet — a splendid marriage of human ingenuity.
Here’s why that’s awesome.
The Versatile Rubber Grommet
This is an early catch-all for rubber grommets. The combination of a part that itself can be incorporated into other materials and structures and have the durability and flexibility (pun intended) of rubber opens many lanes for use.
However, this does cause proliferation in the types of rubber grommets as well.
Being Dull Is Good…
At least for grommets, it is. Remember, most grommets reinforce a hole in something that has something else (string, rope, cord) passing through it. Sharp edges, like from metal, would degrade whatever is going through the whole.
Just Taking It All In
Because rubber is elastic, meaning it can be strained but return to its shape, it can absorb the energy of movement. Sometimes rubber doesn’t transfer very much of that energy out like some kinds of shoes. Other times, the rubber returns a lot of energy like a rubber bouncy ball.
This is important in automotive and manufacturing settings where movement is everything.
Black Is Always In
Modern chemistry can make any color rubber you want. Natural rubber is a milky white. But adding certain compounds can change the color as well as the characteristics of the rubber. For example, tires are black, in part, because the rubber is infused with carbon to make it more durable.
Plastic can be made any color but without the redeeming qualities of rubber. Metal can be painted. But paint wears.
Rubber grommet use allows for greater confidence in wet or moist conditions. Water just rolls off rubber and doesn’t leave the possibility for corrosion like metal. Water-resistance in other applications one of the chief reasons it gets used as widely as it does.