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imenting with India-rubber tiles for floors, which he hoped to make as brilliant in color as those of mineral, as agreeable to the tread as carpet, and as durable as an ancient floor of oak. There is nothing in the history of invention more remarkable than the devotion of this man to his ubject. No crusader was ever so devoted to his vow, no lover to his mistress, as he was to his purpose of showing mankind what to do with India-rubber. The doorplate of his office was made of it; his portrait was painted upon and framed with it; his book, as we have seen, was wholly composed of it; and his mind, by night and day, was surcharged with it. He never went to sleep without having within reach writing materials and the means of making a light, so that, if he should have an idea in the night, he might be able to secure it. Some of his best ideas, he used to say, were saved to mankind by this precaution.
It is not well for any man to be thus absorbed in his object. To Goodyear, whose infirm constitution peculiarly needed repose and recreation, it was disastrous, and at length fatal. It is well with no man who does not play as well as work. Fortunately, we are all beginning to understand this. We are beginning to see that a devotion to the business of life which leaves no reserve of force and time for social pleasures and the pursuit of knowl. edge, diminishes even our power to conduct business with the sustained and intelligent energy requisite for a safe success. That is a melancholy passage in one of Theodore Parker's letters, written in the premature decline of his powers, in which he laments that he had not, like Franklin, joined a club, and taken an occasional ramble with young companions in the country, and played billiards with them in the evening. He added, that he intended to lead a better life in these particulars for the future; but who can reform at forty-seven ? And the worst of it is, that illhealth, the natural ally of all evil, favors intensity, lessening both our power and our inclination to get out of the routine that is destroying us. Goodyear, always sick, had been for so many years the slave of his pursuit, he had beer so spurred on by necessity, and lured by partial success, that, when at last he might bave rested, he could not.
It does not become us, however, who reap the harvest, to cen. sure him who wore himself out in sowing the seed. The harvest
- greater than any but he anticipated. His friends know now that he never over-estimated the value of his invention. They know now what he meant when he said that no one but himself would take the trouble to apply his material to the thousand uses of which it was capable, because each new application demanded a course of experiments that would discourage any one who entered upon it only with a view to profit. The India-rubber manufacture, since his death, has increased greatly in extent, but not much in other respects, and some of the ideas which he valued most remain undeveloped. He died, for example, in the conviction that sails of India-rubber cloth would finally supersede all others. He spent six months and five thousand dollars in producing one or two specimens, which were tried and answered their purpose well; but he was unable to bring his sail-making process to an available perfection. The sole difficulty was to make his sails as light as those of cloth. He felt certain of being able to accomplish this ; but in the multiplicity of his objects and the pressure of his embarrassments, he was compelled to defer the completion of his plans to a day that never came.
The catalogue of his successful efforts is long and striking. The second volume of his book is wholly occupied with that catalogue. He lived to see his material applied to nearly five hun. dred uses, to give employment in England, France, Germany and the United States to sixty thousand persons, who annually produced merchandise of the value of eight millions of dollars. A man does much who only founds a new kind of industry; and he does more when that industry gives value to a commodity that before was nearly valueless. But we should greatly undervalue the labors of Charles Goodyear, if we regarded them only as opening a new source of wealth ; for there have been found many uses of India-rubber, as prepared by him, which have an impor. tance far superior to their commercial value. Art, science, and humanity are indebted to him for, a material which serves the purposes of them all, and serves them as no other known mate rial could.
Some of our readers have been out on the picket-line during the war. They know what it is to stand motionless in a wet and miry rifle-pit, in the chilling rain of a Southern winter's night Protected by India-rubber boots, blanket, and cap, the picketman performs in comparative comfort a duty whick, without that protection, would make him a cowering and shivering wretch, and plant in his bones a latent rheumatism to be the torment of his old age. Goodyear's India-rubber enables him to come in from his pit as dry as he was when he went into it, and he comes in to lie down with an India-rubber blanket between him and the damp earth. If he is wounded, it is an India-rubber stretcher, or an ambulance provided with India-rubber springs, that gives him least pain on his way to the hospital, where, if his wound is seri. ous, a water-bed of India-rubber gives ease to his mangled frame, and enables him to endure the wearing tedium of an unchanged posture. Bandages and supporters of India-rubber avail him much when first he begins to hobble about his ward. A piece of Indiarubber at the end of his crutch lessens the jar and the noise of his motions, and a cushion of India-rubber is comfortable to his armpit. The springs which close the hospital door, the bands which exclude the drafts from doors and windows, his pocketcomb and cup and thimble, are of the same material. From jars hermetically closed with India-rubber he receives the fresh fruit that is so exquisitely delicious to a fevered mouth. The instrument-case of his surgeon and the store-room of his matron contain many articles whose utility is increased by the use of it, and some that could be made of nothing else. His shirts and sheets pass through an India-rubber clothes-wringer, which saves the strength of the washerwoman and the fibre of the fabric. When the government presents him with an artificial leg, a thick heel and elastic sole of India-rubber give him comfort every time he puts it to the ground. An India-rubber pipe with an inserted bowl of clay, a billiard-table provided with India-rubber cushions and balls, can solace his long convalescence.
In the field, this material is not less strikingly useful. During this war, armies have marched through ten days of rain, and slept through as many rainy nights, and come out dry into the return
ing sunshine, with its artillery untarnished and its ammunition un injured, because men and munitions were all under India-rubber When Goodyear's ideas are carried out, it will be by pontoons of inflated India-rubber that rivers will be crossed. A pontoon-train will then consist of one wagon drawn by two mules ; and if the march is through a country that furnishes the wooden part of the bridge, a man may carry a pontoon on his back in addition to his knapsack and blanket.
In the naval service we meet this material in a form that attracts little attention, though it serves a purpose of perhaps unequalled utility. Mechanics are aware, that, from the time of James Watt to the year 1850, the grand desideratum of the engine-builder was a perfect joint, a joint that would not admit the escape of steam. A steam-engine is all over joints and valves, from most of which some steam sooner or later would escape, since an engine in motion produces a continual jar that finally impaired the best joint that art could make. The old joint-making process was exceedingly expensive. The two surfaces of iron had to be most carefully ground and polished, then screwed together, and the edges closed with white lead. By the use of a thin sheet of vulcanized India-rubber, placed between the iron surfaces, not only is all this expense saved, but a joint is produced that is absolutely and permanently perfect. It is not even necessary to rub off the roughness of the casting, for the rougher the surface, the better the joint. Goodyear's invention supplies an article that Watt and Fulton sought in vain, and which would seem to put the finishing touch to the steam-engine, — if, in these days of improvement, anything whatever could be considered finished. At present, all engines are provided with these joints and valves, which save steam, diminish jar, and facilitate the separation of the parts. It is difficult to compute the value of this improvement, in money. We are informed, however, by competent authority, that a steamer of two thousand tons saves ten thousand dollars a year by its use. Such is the demand for the engine-packing, as it is termed, that the owners of the factory where it is chiefly made, after constructing the largest water wheel in the world, found it insufficient for their growing business
and were obliged to add to it a steam-engine of two hundred horse-power. The New York agent of this company sells about A million dollars' worth of packing per annum.
Belting for engines is another article for which Goodyear's compound is superior to any other, inasmuch as the surface of the India-rubber clings to the iron wheel better than leather or fabric. Leather polishes and slips; India-rubber does not polish, and holds to the iron so firmly as to save a large percentage of power. It is no small advantage merely to save leather for other uses, since leather is an article of which the supply is strictly limited. It is not uncommon for India-rubber belts to be furnished, which, if made of leather, would require more than a hundred hides. Emery-wheels of this material have been recently introduced. They were formerly made of wood coated with emery, which soon wore off. In the new manufacture, the
emery is kneaded into the entire mass of the wheel, which can be worn down till it is all consumed. On the same principle the instruments used to sharpen scythes are also made. Of late we hear excellent accounts of India-rubber as a basis for artificial teeth. It is said to be lighter, more agreeable, less expensive, than gold or platina, and not less durable. We have seen also some very pretty watch-cases of this material, elegantly inlaid with gold.
It thus appears, that the result of Mr. Goodyear's long and painful struggles was the production of a material which now ranks with the leading compounds of commerce and manufacture, such as glass, brass, steel, paper, porcelain, paint. Considering its peculiar and varied utility, it is perhaps inferior in value only to paper, steel, and glass. We see, also, that the use of the new compound lessens the consumption of several commodities, such as ivory, bone, ebony, and leather, which it is desirable to save, because the demand for them tends to increase faster than the supply. When a set of ivory billiard-balls costs fifty dollars, and civilization presses upon the domain of the elephant, it is well to make our combs and our paper-knives of something else.
That inventions so valuable should be disputed and pirated was something which the history of all the great inventions might have taught Mr. Goodyear to expect. We need not revive those