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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 62

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This is the grave of Charles Goodyear.

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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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