The blocks recently found on North sea shores were actually produced at the Netherlands Indies Government Gutta percha estate in Java, Indonesia. "Tjipetir", "Tji"river and "Petir"thunder in indonesian, was the name of the factory who employed more than 350 people.
Dutch settlers in Java ( beginning 20 th century)
The Netherlands Indies gouvernment gutta-percha estate Tjipetir (Java) in 1927
In 1900, the Dutch Ministry of Colonies decided to expand a small existing plantation at Tjipetir in Java, with the use of seedlings from Dutch and British colonial sources. At that time, Java (now part of Indonesia), was a Dutch colony. Plantation growing was expensive and also required a long term perspective but the view of the Dutch colonial administration was that the best approach to managing colonial resources was by investing in plantations where forest products could be grown under controlled conditions. Java was not an indigenous source of gutta percha but growing conditions there proved to be very suitable, subject to some controlled management.
Even then – after decades of research - botanists and telegraph experts disagreed about which varieties should be grown. Some incorrect varieties were chosen and 160 acres of seedlings at Tjipetir had to be removed after arguments arose that they were entirely unsuitable for cable manufacture.
The trees growing at the Tjipetir Government Plantation in 1908 were about 23 years old and may have been grown to provide seeds or as part of the experimental program at the Plantation. It was not until 1919 that the administrators agreed that a factory could be established to begin processing product from the plantation. Most of the exports would seem more likely to have occurred in the 1920s once the factory had been established.
The pieces of Tjipetir gutta percha that have been found washed ashore also look identical to those shown on the old photograph album of Tjipetir Gutta Percha that also appears on the Facebook page, it too appears to be from the 1920’s.