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20 February 2007


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Charles Edward Frith

Is this the stuff?


Charles Edward Frith

Is this the stuff?



One more



Spot on Charles. And thanks for remembering Cow Gum David. A dried up blob was an excellent tool for removing excess glue from around your stuck down typesetting, although we used a 3M glue-on-a-roll system mostly, which worked a treat.

Personally, I'm running out of memories but do remember that my very first studio chore was to empty the old PMT chemicals down the sink on a Monday morning. After a while we thought this was a very ecologically unsound thing to do so paid to have it taken away, until we asked the company in question how they disposed of the the vile mess and were told that they just poured it down THEIR sink.

The other thing is this: in our camera rooms we have very big bins for disgarded PMT paper. When we had students in, someone would hide in the bin in the darkened room and we'd send the student in to do a quick print. The bin resident would wait until the light went off before reaching out and grabbing the ankles of the unsuspecting novice.

Quite frankly, we'd piss ourselves.


We used to make huge Cow Gum cobwebs at art school. As soon as a student left their workspace we (well some of us) used to get busy with the Cow Gum and make the most complex webs covering their work, chair and desk. Oh I miss Cow Gum, it used to be good for adding shapes to your face as well but that's another story.


never heard about this "cow gum" band? :D



funny enough david.

cow gum doesnt exist anymore, and ym graphics teacher still encourages us to by it.





Ian O'Reilly

I still have a tube of the stuff!


Went to buy a rubber the other day and remembered the best rubbers were balls of cow gum. Also remember my mate at art college getting cow gum over his jumper and someone setting light to it, the boys laughed and the girls screamed as he did a good impression of 'Pyro' out of X-men …those were the days.

Martin Murphy

How I remember Cow Gum! I never sniffed it at (art) college, but lots did. But I do remember boiling tea on an almost empty tin-punch holes around the top and ignite the residue. Colourless flame. Great for camping. No spillage.
Seriously, it was great for undoing if you stuck the wrong thing to the wrong thing.
So much for progress.
Old Fart.


That truly marvellous invention Cow Gum has basically become yet another casualty under 'yet another' wasteful health and safety directive from the EU - unlike most other European countries, we of course obey all these silly laws to the letter, making continued manufacturer impossible. A sad day for everyone

Upton Park

I worked as a commercial artist from 1967 to 1973 and Cow Gum was our lifeblood and a source of great humour. I have three Cow Gum tales which I have relayed to my children and dinner party guests on numerous occasions. The first came from building up our pet named 'Bungey'. It was a giant cow rubber that became so huge when each of us 5 or six artists would add to it daily. Our studio overlooked a church in the middle of the Strand, opposite the Law Courts.
'Bungey' was placed in view, by a wooden bench. It was about 8 inches long and three in diameter. It was nicely hideous. The incredible thing is that it was there for over two months. Nobody would touch it, and no road cleaner moved it. We spent hours wetting ourselves with laughter as punter after punter came, looked, and moved on.
I moved to another Art Studio in Bayswater and our two favourite pranks when the boss was out picking up work was 1. To get someone cow-haired. Usually it was a copywriter or office junior, but we would dip a paper clip into the fresh Cow and quickly throw it up to the ceiling above the unsuspecting person's head. There it would hang and slowly, but surely, lightly fall onto the top of the head always requiring the hair to be cut. 2. I can't believe we did this, but we did. Again we would select the production manager, copy writer or junior and with a Cow plastic spreader, smear a trail of gum over the Marley floor tiles right to the unsuspecting person's chair. Light the trail and watch. My excuse is that we were young and reckless, but our stomachs ached with laughter.

Mick lynch

I'd be happy just to have an empty tin....



I think this is the red and white can you mean...//www.studioartshop.com/acatalog/4367.jpg

It's also fab for sticking designs to sheet gold as a template if your a jeweller. They still sometimes sell it in canpus art shops, cheapest glue you'll ever find. Good for sticking your students to their seats, washes out and doesn't stain.


For those of you fondly thinking the old days are gone, try running a search for the more politically correct name for Cow Gum...Rubber cement.
Don't you love the look people give you when you ask for Cow Gum at a Art or Hardware shop?

Kim Boome

Hello. I am in DESPERATE need of a wide (approx 2" wide) plastic Cowgum spreader. Mine is almost had it and I use it every day. Has anyone got one lying around at the back of a drawer??? HELP!! Thanks. Kim. x


My dad used to be a Graphic designer in Woking. I remember Cow Gum fondly, and the red and white tins. If we ever used to go into his studio, my brothers and I used to go around the artists desks peeling the gum off of their spatulas and making those wonderful, bouncy 'bogey rubbers' (as they all used to call them). Happy days, and the place seemed a lot more fun than when computers took over - the smell, the bins full of cut paper! Brilliant!

roger can

I had a spaced out aquaintance who used to do light shows and he told me that Arthur Brown "Fire" used it to set light to his head.


I started a new job this year and I found a can of the stuff. First time I have seen it in 15 years. I am going to try the ball out of the window game later.


I just dug out the tin that I used for my wedding album back in 1980. It's still half full and still useable!


I can supply Cow gum - how much do you need

James O'Grady

If you have Cowgum, I need to place an order for some

richard webber

Dear All

Cow Bombs, anyone?

Trying to write a memoir about my dad, Bill Webber, 1915 to 1990, designer at Willings, Cassons etc,also freelance. He used to talk about making "Cow Bombs". Grateful any explanation of how these worked.


Richard Webber

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