Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Let us pause in our lives to say thank you to a guy who died poor but invented something that we all want and use to this day in countless products. It was not that long ago when our shoes went from leather soles to now mostly rubber and floors from wooden products to rubber. Rubber is now everywhere. It was on June 15, 1844 which was about 170 years ago that an unusual ingredient bounced back. It was the day that Charles Goodyear received the patent for his “Improvement in India Rubber Fabrics”.

At that time rubber needed to be improved because it tended to melt in the summer and freeze solid in the winter. It was Charles Goodyear’s invention that made the product to be made into all kinds of shapes but then be as hard and durable as anything ever known to exist. Charles Goodyear was always poor but he loved to tinker with things. He was very curious and pursued his dreams. Imagine all the evermore things that could have been invented if we all could do things we wanted to do and not have to focus so much on making a living.

Goodyear lived in Connecticut and accidentally stumbled on the solution by exposing rubber mixed with sulfur and lead   to heat. In his patent filing he said that rubber will now be so far altered in its qualities as not to be softened by a solar ray or artificial heat nor will it be affected by exposure to cold. He named his process   Vulcanization. Named after the ancient Roman God of fire. Imagine how people thought he was some kind of nut back in 1844 yet he knew it was a new beginning to just about everything we use today.  How the hell did this guy die poor?

He never gained wealth from his invention and died in poverty in 1860 at 59 years old.  The process he invented lives on and has been adapted in to all sorts of manufacturing from electric cords to rubber bath mats. From non- slip rugs to even roads. In 1951 there was just one film made about its various applications and uses from the U. S. Rubber Company. In the film they acknowledge that rubber has to be vulcanized to give it a permanent shape. His name at least lives on adapted by a rubber tire company based in Akron, Ohio in his honor nearly 40 years after his death. It is the Goodyear Tire Company.

So, every time you are bored sitting at some sporting event, look up in the sky at the Goodyear Blimp hovering above for all those over the head video shots of the game. Give a mental thought of thanks to a special man named Charlie who died youngish and poor but left us with his special invention 150 years ago that has made all our lives so much better. Thanks Charlie!

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