Many invention and ideas that happened accidentally. Muller (n.d) reported about 24 of such accidental inventions at mentalfloss.com website. Some of the inventions include a microwave oven, coal tar, and rubber. The one I will like to discuss the accidental invention of rubber which I learned when I was as a child. I learned from my primary school days that piece of a hardened rubber accidentally fell in a fire and turned into industrial rubber. What a funny story It was by then.
The actual accidental invention of rubber is what I will discuss here. According to a report, in 1939 a man named Charles Goodyear accidentally dropped a rubber mixed with lean and sulfur onto a hot stove (Muller, n.d.). The rubber mixture hardened and became very durable and resistance to heat and could and became the industrial rubber use today.
Before Charles Goodyear invention, there was rubber, but the rubber was not for industrial purposes. The substance which used for rubber comes from rubber trees in the tropical forest. I have personally seen a rubber tree and the rubber material called latex in Ghana. But the old rubber could not be use for the industrial product as we have it today. The rubber in at that time get hardened in the cold winter season and will melt in summer when it is hot. The rubber industry was dying because of the characteristics of rubber and people who sell and use rubber were becoming hopeless.
The rubber industry in the USA began the 1930s. Many people wanted to use a waterproof gum from Brazil, but the people found out that it was a mess (Goodyear Corporate, n.d.). The rubber is frozen and become hardened in winter and will melt and turned to look like glue in the summer which resulted in investors in rubber industry lost millions of dollars and many closed down.
That is when a man from Philadelphia called Goodyear who was a hardware store owner try to do something about rubber. Goodyear has been experimenting with rubber and because he had no funding became so poor, and he went to jail because of debt. Goodyear made his first rubber experiment in a police cell. When he was out of jail, he continued to try again and again to make his experiment reality. He mixed different substance such as magnesium powder, quicklime, and nitric acid to the rubber but could not achieve the dire result. The rubber still gets hardened in winter and melt in summer. The sad news was that Goodyear became so obsessed with his experiment and became so poor that he could not feed his family and was constantly in debt. For five futile years, Goodyear was near rock bottom. People from Boston the place where he lived gave his children food, to eat, and he lost children in the process.
The great accidental discovery occurred in winter 1839. In February that year he just walked to a general store at Woburn to show his new rubber mixture. Very excited and waving his hand, the substance fell from his hand and landed on a hot potbellied stove. When he try to scrape the substance of the stove he made a discovery. He found that that instead of rubber melting like molasses, it had charred like leather. The rubber had become elastic. He discovered that heating the rubber is the answer for the rubber to stay the same in winter and summer. The winter after Goodyear’s discovery heat and sulfur miraculously changed rubber. And Goodyear made remarkable discovery by inventing weatherproof rubber.
It was Goodyear who saw rubber as what we know it is today. Rubber has been a versatile modern plastics. He suggested the same application of rubber in 1850 as rubber paint, car springs, ferryboat bumpers, wheelbarrow tires, inflatable life rafts, and “frogmen” suits” and many other recent innovations he described a century ago (Goodyear Corporate, n.d). And now about 300,000 Americans earn their livelihoods in rubber manufacturing and rubber materials worth $6 billion in the USA.
Goodyear Corporate. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://corporate.goodyear.com/en-
Muller, D (n.d) 24 Important scientific discoveries that happened. Retrieved fromhttp://mentalfloss.com/article/53646/24-important-scientific-discoveries-happene