Discovery of India-rubber—Mode of collecting it—Preparation and use by the natives—Its introduction into the United States—Mr. E.M. Chaffee’s process—The India-rubber fever—Brief success of the India-rubber companies—Their sudden failure—Visit of Mr. Goodyear to New York—He invents an improvement in the life preserver—Early history of Charles Goodyear—His failure as a merchant—Offers his invention to the Roxbury Company—The agent’s disclosures—Mr. Goodyear finds his mission—His first efforts—A failure—Discouraging state of his affairs—Renews his efforts—Experiments in India-rubber—Coldness of his friends—His courage and perseverance—Goes to New York—Accidental discovery of the aqua fortis process—Partial success—Ruined—Life on Staten Island—Removes to Boston—Delusive prosperity—The mail bag contract—His friends urge him to abandon his efforts—He refuses—On the verge of success—Discovers the usefulness of sulphur—The inventor’s hope—The revelation—Discovers the secret of vulcanization—Down in the depths—Kept back by poverty—A beggar—A test of his honesty—Starvation at hand—The timely loan—Removal to New York—Difficulties in the way—Death of his youngest child—Finds friends in New York—His experiments in vulcanization—Final success—His heart in his work—Fails to secure patents in Europe—His losses from dishonest rivals—Declaration of the Commissioner of Patents—Death of Mr. Goodyear—Congress refuses to extend his patent—His true reward.
The home of General Greene in Georgia—The soldier’s widow—An arrival from New England—The young schoolmaster—A mechanical genius—Early history of Whitney—Mrs. Greene’s invitation—Visit of the planters—State of the cotton culture in 1792—A despondent planter—Mrs. Greene advises them to try Whitney—Origin of the cotton gin—Whitney’s first efforts—His workshop—The secret labors—How he provided himself with materials—Finds a partner—Betrayal of his secret—He is robbed of his model—He recovers it and completes it—The first cotton gin—Statement of the revolution produced by the invention in the cotton culture of the South—Opinion of Judge Johnson—The story of an inventor’s wrongs—Whitney is cheated and robbed of his rights—The worthlessness of a patent—A long and disheartening struggle—Honorable action of North Carolina—Congress refuses to extend the patent—Whitney abandons the cotton gin—Engages in the manufacture of firearms—His improvements in them—Establishes an armory in Connecticut, and makes a fortune—Death.