Short list of American inventions of the time illustrates the dynamism of development of the country: passenger Elevator and escalator, the telephone, the phonograph, air brake, cash register, electric light, fountain pen, Linotype, film camera, adding machine, revolving door, safety pin and a typewriter. All of this was invented in America, mostly in a crazy last quarter of the nineteenth century and with the same purpose: to facilitate people in their daily lives. While other countries have revolutionized industrial processes, inventing such machines as the Bessemer Converter for steel production, weaving machine, steam press, Americans are focusing on the production of devices that made life easier.
They took to heart the famous phrase of Emerson: "Make a good mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your doorstep". Rather, they would have taken if he said it, he actually put it forget: "If person has for sale good corn, or wood, or boards, or pigs, or he knows how to make chairs or knives, cradles, or Church organs, you will always find a wide road leading to his house even if he lives in the woods." By the way, he did not say, as it is ascribed to him: "continuity is the evil genius limited people", he said, "a Foolish consistency is the evil genius of restricted persons", which has a completely different meaning.
America has a long tradition of Amateur inventions. Jefferson invented a plow and received a prix (honorary prize) of the French Academy of agriculture (although the plow actually worked very well). Its classic estate of Monticello in Virginia was littered with invented accessories to facilitate everyday life. Franklin was obsessed with inventions. He gave the world bifocals, the lightning rod, extendable grippers to reach things from high shelves, (possibly) rocking chair and (of course) the Franklin stove, which is usually called the Pennsylvania fireplace. Everything that he invented was to be of practical use. "Who needs philosophy, which is no place to apply?" he said. Like Jefferson, he was never looking for income from their inventions.
In 1790 Jefferson had made the organization of the patent office of the United States. At first it consisted of the General Prosecutor, the Minister of foreign Affairs and Minister of war. Was that supposed to be a burdensome extra responsibility and what they will do in between more important things. They especially do not hurry. For the first year it issued only three patents (the first American patent was awarded to Samuel Hopkins for a new method of obtaining potash), but by 1802 the flow of applications for patents so increased that it was necessary to establish a special Bureau of patents. Suddenly opened that America is a country of self-taught inventors, and while in other countries inventions have been made in laboratories, in America they came from kitchens and garden sheds. The fever that gripped the entire country, even Abraham Lincoln found time to patent No. 6469 for "a Device for the transfer of funds through the floating of stranded".
Charles Goodyear and vulcanized rubber
Charles Goodyear, who invented how to vulcanize tires, was the classic American inventor of that time: he was sure of the importance of his goal, he sacrificed many years of his life to implement it and blindly believed in his idea. But he had not the slightest idea about the subject of his work. Described by one of the biographers as "quiet lunatic", Goodyear in 1834, became a fanatic rubber. This material was promising: flexible, durable, waterproof, but, unfortunately, had serious shortcomings, the biggest of which was its tendency to melt in hot weather. Rubber shoes you can wear in winter, but as soon as the street became warmer, they started to lose shape, become sticky and smelled bad.
Goodyear decided to devote his life to the solution of this problem. He is obsessed with working on it. Over the next nine years he sold or pawned everything that it was, I spent all I could get from friends and relatives, came to begging and utterly tortured his beloved wife and numerous children. He turned the kitchen into a laboratory and there is little understanding of chemistry, experimented, filling the house smelly gases, and once he almost choked.
Anything it did not work. To demonstrate the versatility of rubber, he wore clothes and shoes made wholly of it, but a bad smell of rubber and the oddity of the inventor became even more obvious. Surprisingly, people believed in him. The wife did everything for him that he asked for, and is relatively easily allowed him to spend all the family money. His wife's brother put up 46 000 dollars and meekly endured the transformation of their money in smelly garbage.
With indomitable perseverance made Goodyear one item after another: rubber mail bags, survival suits, boots, raincoat all were absolutely unusable. Despite the generous support of friends and relatives, he several times found himself in debtor's prison. When in 1840 the death of his two year old son, the family had no money to buy a coffin.
Finally in 1843 he made his remarkable discovery, quite by accident, when the hot stove got at the same time rubber and Sulphur and the resulting product was flexible, strong, waterproof and resistant to heat and to cold. He was also an excellent insulator and, most importantly, had almost no smell. Goodyear hastily filed a patent and opened his own company. It would seem, has finally come wealth and glory, honored the years of work and suffering.