Charles Goodyear didn’t invent rubber, but he developed the process called vulcanization that makes rubber usable and stable.
Goodyear was born on Dec. 29, 1800, in New Haven, Conn., U.S.
He spent his entire life working with rubber. He first made valves that used rubber life preservers, but the rubber was so unstable.
In the 1830s, rubber fever struck, which was when Goodyear discovered latex uses from rubber trees. Many new products were developed from rubber. But sadly, rubber wasn’t very useful because heat melted it and cold temperature made it freeze and crack, so Goodyear wanted to find a way to make it stable.
He accidentally discovered vulcanization in 1839 when dropped some Indian rubber mixed with sulfur on a hot stove and noticed it had become remarkably tough.
This led to five years of experiments with the process, which Goodyear then later perfected the process.
While he was working all of his life, his family suffered and relied on relatives for food and basic need. Even when he invented the Vulcanization process, he could not profit from it.
After he died on July 1, 1860, in New York City, Thomas Hancock stole Goodyear’s idea and owned the Patent.