Goodyear Green - Woburn, MA
Posted by: NorStar
N 42° 28.847 W 071° 07.448
19T E 325411 N 4705345
Quick Description: This marker by a small plot by the Goodyear Elementary School states that near this site, Charles Goodyear discovered the vulcanization process of rubber.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 11/7/2011 6:02:14 PM
Waymark Code: WMD216
In Woburn's Montvale section of town, as you drive up a driveway from Lexington Street to the Goodyear Elementary School, you will pass by a small plot with plants, and a marker in this plot that states the following:
Near this site stood the home where Charles Goodyear
discovered the process of vulcanizing rubber during the winter of 1839
Woburn Historical Commission 1975
Donated by Woburn Co-operative Bank"
Different sources present different stories of how the discovery of applying heat to a compound of natural rubber and other ingredients, including sulfur came about. The Goodyear Company web site presents the story of how he had accidentally threw some rubber compound onto a hot potbellied stove, then pealed it off to find that it has cured into stable rubber. Wikipedia, however, indicates that recent evidence supports the idea that he teamed up with Nathaniel Hayward who introduced to him the idea of adding sulfur. Experimenting was done at or near his home.
The sources agree that Goodyear lived most of his life poor. He spent most of his life on the problem of stabilizing India (natural) rubber. Before his discovery, several companies tried to brush latex over cloth to make raincoats, only to find that the latex melted off the fabric in heat and cracked in the cold. Goodyear's (and Hayward's) innovations fixed this. Unfortunately, Goodyear spent the rest of his life defending his patents, and he died very poor, though when the settlements finally resulted in royalties, his family lived well.
The Goodyear Company was named after Charles Goodyear, but was not directly involved with Charles Goodyear. The elementary school was named after Charles Goodyear, as well, and was built on the site of Goodyear's house.
Goodyear Company (History):
Goodyear Elementary School, Woburn Public Schools: