CHARLES GOODYEAR Biography - Pioneers, Explorers & inventors


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Charles Goodyear was born in New Haven, Connecticut on December 29, 1800. He was   
the son of Amasa Goodyear, and the oldest of six children. His father was quite   
proud of being a descendant of Stephen Goodyear, one of the founders of the       
colony of New Haven in 1638 .                                                                                                                                             
In 1816, Charles left his home and went to Philadelphia to learn the hardware     
business. He worked industriously until he was twenty-one years old, and then,     
returning to Connecticut, entered into partnership in his father's business in     
Naugatuck, where they manufactured not only ivory and metal buttons, but a         
variety of agricultural implements, which were just beginning to be appreciated   
by farmers.                                                                       
In August of 1824 he was united in marriage with Clarissa Beecher, a woman of     
supposedly remarkable strength of character and kindness of disposition; and one   
of great assistance to the impulsive inventor. Two years later the family moved   
to Philadelphia, and there Mr. Goodyear opened a hardware store. His specialties   
were the valuable agricultural implements that his firm had been manufacturing,   
and after the first distrust of domestically-made goods had worn away — for all 
agricultural implements were imported from England at that time — he found       
himself heading a successful business.                                       
In 1838, Goodyear met Nathaniel Hayward in Woburn, Massachusetts, where Hayward   
was running a factory. Some time after this Goodyear himself moved to Woburn,     
all the time continuing his experiments. He was very much interested in Hayward's 
sulfur experiments for drying rubber. Hayward told Goodyear that he had used       
sulphur in rubber manufacturing.                                                   
Some say that Goodyear tried the experiment with a similar material over an open   
flame, and saw that the gum elastic was charred, but on the edge of the charred     
areas were portions that were not charred, but were instead perfectly cured.       
Other sources claim that Goodyear accidentally spilled the rubber mixture on a     
hot stove. The key discovery was that heating natural rubber and sulphur created   
vulcanized rubber. This process was eventually refined to become the vulcanizing   
The inventor himself admitted that the discovery of the vulcanizing process was     
not the direct result of the scientific method, but claims that it was not         
accidental. Rather it was the result of application and observation.               
Goodyear died July 1, 1860, while traveling to see his dying daughter. After     
arriving in New York, he was informed that she had already died. He collapsed   
and was taken to the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City, where he died at the   
age of fifty-nine. He is buried in New Haven at Grove Street Cemetery.