Like crude oil, cotton, and plutonium, rubber is on the short list of raw materials that suddenly yielded transformative commercial benefits. The turning point was the 1839 discovery of vulcanization, whereby the heated addition of sulfur permits rubber to retain its shape regardless of temperature. Without sulfur, rubber melts or cracks when exposed to heat or cold. Charles Goodyear was the implacable, obsessed true believer who made possible the great shock absorber of the industrial age. Countless setbacks, massive debt, and perpetual destitution were unable to dent Goodyear's faith in rubber by all accounts; his wife, Clarissa, was blessed with an otherworldly patience. This is a fascinating portrait of the transitional period in America's progress from farmland to factory and, eventually, to freeway. Download and start listening now!