Home / General / Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 62

Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 62


This is the grave of Charles Goodyear.


Born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1800, Charles Goodyear moved to Philadelphia in 1814 to learn the furniture business but returned to Connecticut in 1821 to work with his father making buttons and agricultural tools. He moved back to Philadelphia in 1824 after marrying and opened a furniture store. The business was successful, although ran into hard times by 1829. In 1831, Goodyear became interested in rubber. He started working on tubes in life preservers and approached a company in Boston about it. Finding out that a lot of rubber was rotting in various goods, he sought to improve it. He then engaged in a decade of experimentation, despite a brief period in debtors’ prison. In 1844, he felt good enough about his experiments in the vulcanization of rubber to patent it. But as was common during these years, Goodyear had a very limited ability to enforce his patent. Despite his critical advancements in rubber technology, he never profited from it. Goodyear died in 1860.

Charles Goodyear is buried at Grove Street Cemetery, New Haven, Connecticut.

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  • CrunchyFrog

    But as was common during these years, Goodyear had a very limited ability to enforce his patent.

    Is it much different today? Patent violations are a very expensive legal business.

  • postmodulator

    I think I always assumed that the guy half the stuff in Akron was named for had at some point lived in Akron.

  • Well if he never profited, what’s with the Goodyear Tire Co.? They’re rich enough to have a blimp, even.

    • Dilan Esper

      I don’t think Mr. Birdseye profited off the Birds Eye frozen food empire either.

      • Keaaukane

        The Jolly Green Giant never benefited from his canning and frozen food empire either. Eventually, he was reduced to doing occasional cameos in “Attack on Titan”.

        • Dilan Esper

          Birdseye was a real person who invented flash freezing of foodstuffs.

          • Keaaukane

            Maybe you should ask Santa for a sense of humor. Might help, can’t hurt. You know, just like prayer.

          • Keaaukane

            Further, per Wiki, Birdseye sold his company for 22 million in 1929, which was pretty good money back then.

            As the Dark God of Time correctly observed before me.

      • The Dark God of Time

        I don’t think?

        1929, Birdseye sold his company and patents for $22 million to Goldman Sachs and the Postum Company, which eventually became General Foods Corporation, and which founded the Birds Eye Frozen Food Company. Birdseye continued to work with the company, further developing frozen food technology. In 1930, the company began sales experiments in 18 retail stores around Springfield, Massachusetts, to test consumer acceptance of quick-frozen foods. The initial product line featured 26 items, including 18 cuts of frozen meat, spinach and peas, a variety of fruits and berries, blue point oysters, and fish fillets. Consumers liked the new products and today this is considered the birth of retail frozen foods. The “Birds Eye” name remains a leading frozen-food brand. Birdseye was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2005.


    • PeorgieTirebiter

      Goodyear’s founder named his new company for Charles Goodyear some thirty years after CG gave up the ghost.

    • Born in New Haven, Charles Goodyear attended school in Naugatuck and, in 1826, started the first retail domestic hardware store in the US with his father, inventor and businessman Amasa Goodyear, in Philadelphia. Bankrupt four years later, Charles and his family endured poverty as he doggedly pursued a new venture: the stabilization of rubber for commercial use. In 1844, after establishing the Naugatuck India-Rubber Company, Goodyear patented his vulcanization process—a discovery that has made possible a range of indispensible commercial products, from car tires to sneaker treads. Despite this success, Goodyear battled patent infringements and debt until his death in 1860.http://connecticuthistory.org/people/charles-goodyear/


      In 1898, almost four decades after his death, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company was founded and named after Goodyear by Frank Seiberling.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Goodyear

      • creature

        Harvey Firestone has been touted as the guy who ‘invented’ vulcanising, although some more honest accounts clarify that he improved it for tyre production. Growin up in Akron, the rubber industry was looked as a some sort of wonderful thing. My maternal grandparents were active in the URW organising, and I was a URW local president, many years later. All those ‘rubber barons’ left their mark on the city. Entire neighbourhoods (Goodyear Heights, Firestone Heights) built by the companies, helped Akron’s expansion and stability for many years.

  • ThresherK (KadeKo)

    despite a brief period in debtors’ prison

    Debtors’ Prison: Making Capitalism Work Again!

    (Dad is from New Haven. I’m a lifelong Nutmegger.)

  • mikeSchilling

    Goodyear never got royalties from the Beatles song he co-wrote, either. You know, I’m So Tired.

    • Colin Day

      Yeah, and what about Rubber Soul?

  • OliversArmy

    This is kind of sad. Having invented vulcanization one would think that Goodyear would live long and prosper.

    • Mike G

      Skeptics of Goodyear’s new invention said to him, “Are you out of your vulcan mind?”

  • Bruce Vail

    Erik, you are spending way too much time in the New Haven cemeteries.

    Just kidding, I’m starting to enjoy your cemetery posts quite a bit…

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