Science and Its Times: Charles Goodyear American Inventor A merican inventor Charles Goodyear made important contributions to the practical application of rubber and its related industries. His discovery of the process of vulcanization, by which raw rubber could be made into a strong, malleable material, became useful for a large number of common products, most famously the rubber tire. Goodyear's father was a New HavenConnecticut, hardware inventor, manufacturer, and merchant specializing in farm tools, but also purveying items as diverse as pearl buttons.
Matt Blitz One comment Nineteenth century America was a good time to be inventor. With the right timing, invention, marketing, and patent, one could become rapidly rich.
Elias Howe the sewing machineSamuel Morse Morse codeand Cyrus McCormick the mechanical reaper were just a few of the pioneers who reaped the financial rewards of their business acumen. Despite being the inventor of one of the most influential innovations of the past two hundred years, Charles Goodyear was not like his peers.
Due to bad luck, losing a patent battle, and rather lackluster marketing skills, Goodyear died little known and with massive debt, not to mention his rather tragic family life. Here is the story of the luckless rubber maven, Charles Goodyear.
When Charles was young, his father bought a patent for a manufacturer of buttons and opened a new business about eighteen miles from New Haven, in the town of Naugatuck.
There, he became the first US manufacturer of pearl buttons in and, during the war ofsupplied the government with all its metal buttons. Charles worked for his enterprising father, tending to orders, as well as the farm his family also owned.
Around that time, the business had pivoted from making buttons to agricultural tools to other various hardware needs. He made the move to Philadelphia and opened what is still considered the first retail domestic hardware store in the United States.
For many years prior to this, customers in the States were generally distrusting of buying goods made in America.
Quite simply, they still thought goods made in England were of better quality. Believing he had enough capital to extend his operations outside of Philadelphia, he shipped his goods to buyers in the Mid-Atlantic and South, only to have them consistently default on payments thanks to the Tariff Act ofwhich dealt a crippling blow to the once rising Southern economy.
Additionally, a rather hideous bout of dysentery resulted in Goodyear being bedridden for a time and unable to work. At this time, not knowing how to provide for his family, Charles turned to the same thing his father did with buttons so many years ago — the pursuit of making a known product better.
Goodyear knew about the fascinating ability of rubber as a manufacturing tool, using it in several products he produced in his time with his hardware store. In the early 19th century, there was a certified rubber boom as it was used to make clothes weatherproof.
The problem was that pure rubber froze in the cold and melted and became sticky in the heat, while producing a rather pungent odor. Goodyear was exposed to this in New York City when he was taken into the hot storage room of the Roxbury India Rubber Company the first successful American rubber company after claiming to a sales agent he could make a better air valve for their intertubes.
There, he saw — and smelled — the dark side of rubber — melted, mangled, and stinky. From that point forward, Goodyear devoted his life to improving rubber for commercial use.In the year Goodyear went to Europe, a trip that he had long planned, and saw Thomas Hancock, then in the employ of Charles Macintosh & Company.
Hancock claimed to have invented vulcanization independently, and received a British patent, initiated in , but finalized in The breakthrough finally came in when Goodyear accidentally discovered the vulcanization process--heating rubber-sulphur mixtures to yield a tough yet flexible product.
Goodyear struggled through five more years of destitution--at one point evenselling his children's schoolbooks--before he was able to patent his processin Charles Goodyear was an American inventor, self-taught chemist and manufacturing engineer who discovered the vulcanization process for rubber.
The well-known company Goodyear Tire and Rubber. Vulcanization or vulcanisation is a chemical process for converting polymers into more durable materials by introducing crosslinks. A well known example is sulfur vulcanization whereby organic polymers are crosslinked with chains of sulfur. .
Goodyear had discovered the key to the process he called vulcanization, which was to cure the rubber-acid mixture with ashio-midori.com obtained a patent for the process on June 14, ; however, his typically poor business sense led him to license the patent at ridiculously low prices.
Charles Goodyear () discovered a process for curing rubber, which transformed this remarkable but flawed natural substance from a curiosity fit for museums into the first of the modern plastics.