Taking Automobile Tires from the Curing Pits, Akron, Ohio.
In this view the tires have just gone through the "curing" process. They are being removed from the steel forms in which they were placed for that process. "Curing" means "vulcanizing." Vulcanizing a tire means applying great heat and pressure to it. So, while in those steel forms, the tire were heated very hot and pressed very hard at the same time. The process (vulcanizing) makes the tire strong enough to stand being inflated ("blown up") by air. It also makes them strong enough to travel thousands of miles over pavements and dirt roads in all kinds of weather.
Before a method of vulcanizing rubber was discovered, our rubber goods were few and far from satisfactory. A rubber rain coat in winter became so stiff that it would stand alone. In summer the same coat became soft and stickey and stretched out of shape. Charles Goodyear, and American living in Connecticut, spent nine years in hard work and poverty trying to find a way to treat rubber so that it would not crack in winter or melt in summer. One day he threw a lump of rubber mixed with sulphur into the fire. Great was his surprise and joy to find that the fire did what he had been trying to do; it toughened the mass. Over five more years he worked to perfect his process. Without Mr. Goodyear;s wonderful discovery many articles now made of vulcanized rubber would be unknown. Certainly automobile tires such as we see today would be impossible. The process of hardening rubber was called "vulcanizing" in honor of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.
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