Charles Goodyear (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Goodyear was the first man to vulcanize rubber, thereby rendering it usable for manufacturing numerous products.
Charles Goodyear was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on December 29, 1800. He was the first child born to Amasa Goodyear and Cynthia Bateman Goodyear; their family later grew to include six children. Stephen Goodyear, an ancestor from London, had been one of a group of merchants who founded a colony in New Haven in 1638. Amasa Goodyear was also a merchant, selling hardware supplies to farmers, as well as an inventor. One of his patented farm tools was a hay pitchfork made from steel; it was a great improvement over the heavy cast-iron pitchforks that were used in the early 1800’s.
Charles attended public schools in New Haven and Naugatuck, Connecticut, his father having moved the family in 1807 to a farm near Naugatuck to take advantage of a water-powered factory he had bought there. Charles helped his father, to whom he was a close companion, at both the factory and the farm. Contemporaries remembered him as a serious youth with a studious nature. An excellent Bible student, he considered being a minister, but when he finished public school at seventeen, he agreed with his father that he should enter the hardware business and was apprenticed, as a clerk, to a large Philadelphia hardware store run by the Rogers family.
Charles’s tenure at the store was...
(The entire section is 2259 words.)
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