On July 15, 1844, vulcanized rubber was patented. Most people know that it was patented by Charles Goodyear. This is often remember because there is a brand of tires called “Goodyear.” However, there are many other facts about the vulcanization of rubber that most people do not know. Here are the top five facts about the vulcanization of rubber.
It All Started with a Life Preserver
Charles Goodyear went to the Roxbury manufacturers in New York. It was 1834 and he bought a rubber life preserver. A few weeks after he bought the life preserver, he came back to the store with a plan to improve the rubber. The manager confided in Goodyear that the Roxbury manufacturers were having difficulty with their process.
Vulcanization Was a Call from God
It seems odd that vulcanization is named after the Roman god of fire. After all, Charles Goodyear saw creating the process of vulcanization as a call from God. Goodyear took up solving the problems with rubber with the spirit of a crusader.
Vulcanization Is Hot
Vulcanization happens by heating rubber with sulfur. The rubber and sulfur is heated anywhere from 140 to 180 degrees Celsius. This is 284 to 365 degrees Fahrenheit. The only places that humans get near these temperatures are ovens, stoves, and fires.
Vulcanization Was an Accident
For a long time, Goodyear thought that the solution to making rubber durable was to mix the gum-elastic with magnesium. It was when he was trying to harden the gum-elastic with sulfur that he found that not only the surfaces was cured, but the whole mass was cured. This happened in 1839.
Goodyear Didn’t Care About Money
While Goodyear was working on the process of vulcanization, he and his wife were poor. He took out sixty patents on rubber manufacturing. He didn’t make money from the process of vulcanization, but he did not care. In the last week of his life, he was unable to walk without crutches. However, Goodyear’s aim was always greater service to mankind. He died a poor man.
Bellis, M. (n.d.). Charles Goodyear – The History of Vulcanized Rubber and Charles Goodyear. Inventors. Retrieved July 4, 2012, from http://inventors.about.com/od/gstartinventors/a/CharlesGoodyear.htm
vulcanization (rubber manufacturing) — Britannica Online Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved July 4, 2012, from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/t