Detail from Charles Goodyear by Alexander Gardner, ca. 1860
– National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Charles Goodyear (1800-1860)
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. He is buried in New Haven and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1976.
Obsessive dedication transformed rubber into a viable commercial material and made the town of Naugatuck one of its leading manufacturing sites in the 1800s. …[more]
“Grove Street Cemetery,” 2016. Link
“Naugatuck Historical Society,” 2016. Link
Goodyear, Charles. Patent Model for the Manufacture of Rubber Fabrics. 3,462. New York, NY, issued March 9, 1844. Link
Goodyear, Charles. Patent Number 3,462 - Manufacture of India Rubber Goods. US3462 A. New York, NY, issued March 9, 1844. Link
Goodyear, Charles. Patent Number 3,633 - Improvement in India-Rubber Fabrics. 3,633. New York, NY, issued June 15, 1844. Link
Goodyear, Charles. Gum Elastic and Its Varieties: With a Detailed Account of Its Applications and Uses and of the Discovery of Vulcanization
. Vol. 2. New Haven: Charles Goodyear, 1853. Link
Lamkin & Foster, Boston, and Goodyear India Rubber Glove Company. Illustrated Catalogue of the Goodyear India Rubber Glove Co.’s Boots and Shoes for the Season of 1885-6
. Boston, CT: The Firm, 1885. Link
Wolf, Ralph F. India Rubber Man; the Story of Charles Goodyear. Caldwell, ID: Caxton Printers, 1939.
Slack, Charles. Noble Obsession: Charles Goodyear, Thomas Hancock, and the Race to Unlock the Greatest Industrial Secret of the Nineteenth Century, 2002.
Geer, William Chauncey. The Reign of Rubber
. New York: The Century Company, 1922. Link
Peirce, Bradford K. Trials of an Inventor: Life and Discoveries of Charles Goodyear
. New York: Carlton & Porter, 1866. Link