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RE: Base Isolators

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The seminar I attended on isolation bearings revealed that:
- the lead core is used because it is more flexible than steel.  The lead
core will deform along with the rubber.
- the top and bottom steel plates are the load plates (from column to
bearing and bearing to foundation.
- the other plates are reinforcing the rubber (like a car tire)
- it was mentioned that nothing is special about the steel but the chemistry
of the rubber is likely to be proprietary.
- I was led to believe that the structural engineer of record does not
design the bearings.  The floor plans along with the anticipated column
loads are given to the isolation bearing manufacturer who then "customizes"
the bearings to your specifications. 
That's the extent of my knowledge ... try contacting:
Dynamic Isolation Systems, Inc.
3470 Mount Diablo Boulevard
Suite A200
Lafayette, CA  94549
510.283.4307 - FAX

William J. Keil, P.E.