Charles Goodyear Fact File: Lifespan: 1800 - 1960 *** Full Name: Charles Goodyear *** Occupation: American Self Taught Chemist and Manufacturing Engineer *** Date of Birth: He was born on December 29th 1800 *** Place of Birth: He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, USA *** Family background: His father was Amasa Goodyear and a descendent of one of the founding families to colonize New Haven in 1638 from London, Middlesex *** Early life and childhood: He grew up in New Haven until he was fourteen years of age *** Education: He began his education at home ***
Charles Goodyear Fact 1: He was born at the beginning of a new century where there were huge advances in medicine, science and innovations.
Charles Goodyear Fact 2: At the age of fourteen years he leaves home to head for Philadelphia to embark on a career in the hardware business.
Charles Goodyear Fact 3: After seven years he makes a triumphant return to his home where he and his father become partners and began making a variety of agricultural tools as well as metal and ivory buttons.
Charles Goodyear Fact 4: in 1824 he married Clarissa Beecher and a couple of years later they moved to Philadelphia where they opened their own hardware store.
Charles Goodyear Fact 5: He continued making agricultural tools as he had with his father and although locals were distrustful of his goods as they had been purchasing these wares from England they soon overcame that distrust to buy local sourced items.
Charles Goodyear Fact 6: Between 1829 and 1830 due to ill health and poor decision making with regard to certain business ventures his business began to fail and he was forced to admit defeat.
Charles Goodyear Fact 7: Within the next of couple of years however he became aware of a new material, natural rubber.
Charles Goodyear Fact 8: Having had several set backs with this produce, an idea he had put into place was replacing the inner tubes used at the time for life preservers with the rubber substitute, although initially a good idea the rubber began to break down. Another idea was using the rubber for shoes but again the material broke down.
Charles Goodyear Fact 9: Having lost his investors through lack of confidence he was not deterred and new he had to keep trying. His next step was to place his family in a comfortable boarding house, selling all their possessions and using the money to go to New York where in an attic space together with a druggist he had befriended the continued experimenting.
Charles Goodyear Fact 10: He thought he had finally solved the problem of the rubber become sticky by missing the rubber with magnesia and boiling in quicklime with water. This did seem in fact to resolve the issue and he would soon be receiving worldwide acclaim.
Charles Goodyear Fact 11: Purely by coincidence he noticed one day that a drop of acid dropped on his rubber caused the alkali to be neutralized resulting in the rubber becoming pliable again.
Charles Goodyear Fact 12: Back to drawing board he next experimented, out of his attic with the assistance of a mill some few miles away in Greenwich Village he finally came upon solution of dipping his rubber into nitric acid which formed a cured surface on his rubber.
Charles Goodyear Fact 13: With this success, he and his business partner built a factory and began producing such items as life preservers, clothing, shoes and many other rubber items on Staten Island where he was able to buy a family home.
Charles Goodyear Fact 14: Everything was finally looking secure when 1837 panic hit and a recession that would last for around 8 years, unemployment rose and wages, profits and prices all went down and the family was left again penniless.
Charles Goodyear Fact 15: Moving to Boston would become one of the best decisions of his life. He met J Haskins of Roxbury Rubber Company and they became firm friends.
Charles Goodyear Fact 16: Haskins leant him money when no else would.
Charles Goodyear Fact 17: He also became acquainted with Mr Chaffee who would listen to his problems and also worked out what the problem could be the rubber from India. Once again they thought they had solved the problem only to discover over time they had not.
Charles Goodyear Fact 18: Not to be beaten he moved his operation to Springfield, Massachusetts and together with his two brothers, Nelson and Henry and their brother in law Mr De Forest, a wealthy man in his own right, they began again.
Charles Goodyear Fact 19: Although during his lifetime he saw periods of success he once wrote “In reflecting upon the past, as relates to these branches of industry, the writer is not disposed to repine, and say the he has planted, and others have gather the fruits. The advantages of a career in life should not be estimated exclusively by the standard of dollars and cents, as is too often done. Man has just cause for regret when he sows and no one reaps.”
Charles Goodyear Fact 20: Having spent a large part of his life handling and experimenting with dangerous chemicals his hail was frail. Traveling to New York to see his dying daughter, he arrived to the tragic news that he was too late, he collapsed. Taken to the Fifth Avenue Hotel he died on July 1st 1860 and his body laid to rest in at the Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven.
Influence & Legacy: Although he did not see complete success in his lifetime 40 years later the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company would be founded by Frank Seiberling.
Important Events of the 18th century and during the life of Charles Goodyear include: The Royal College of Surgeons in founded in London, the US has become the world’s largest producer of raw cotton and New York will pass a state law emancipating slaves.