Thursday Feb. 4, 2021’s Smile of the Day: Rubber Boots

On this Day:

In 1824,  J W Goodrich introduced rubber galoshes to the public.  Except, he couldn’t have.  Or if he did, they must not have been very good.

Charles Goodyear (December 29, 1800 – July 1, 1860) was an American self-taught chemist and manufacturing engineer who developed vulcanized rubber, for which he received patent number 3633 from the United States Patent Office on June 15, 1844.

Goodyear is credited with inventing the chemical process to create and manufacture pliable, waterproof, moldable rubber.

From 1834 through 1839, Goodyear worked anywhere he could find investors, and often moved locations, mostly within New York, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, and Connecticut. In 1839, Goodyear was at the Eagle India Rubber Company in Woburn, Massachusetts, where he accidentally discovered that combining rubber and sulfur over a hot stove caused the rubber to vulcanize. For this Goodyear and Nathaniel Hayward received US patent number 1,090 on February 24 of the same year.

His discovery initiated decades of successful rubber manufacturing in the Lower Naugatuck Valley in Connecticut, as rubber was adopted to multiple applications, including footwear and tires. The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company is named after him.

In 1852 Hiram Hutchinson met Charles Goodyear, who had just invented the sulfur vulcanisation process for natural rubber. Hutchinson bought the patent to manufacture footwear and moved to France to establish À l’Aigle (“to the Eagle”) in 1853, to honour his home country. Today the company is simply called Aigle. In a country where 95% of the population were working on fields with wooden clogs as they had been for generations, the introduction of the wholly waterproof, Wellington-type rubber boot became an instant success: farmers would be able to come back home with clean, dry feet.

Production of the Wellington boot was dramatically boosted with the advent of World War I and a requirement for footwear suitable for the conditions in Europe’s flooded and muddy trenches. The North British Rubber Company (now Hunter Boot Ltd) was asked by the War Office to construct a boot suitable for such conditions. The mills ran day and night to produce immense quantities of these trench boots. In total, 1,185,036 pairs were made to meet the British Army’s demands.

In World War II, Hunter Boot was again requested to supply vast quantities of Wellington and thigh boots. 80% of production was of war materials – from (rubber) ground sheets to life belts and gas masks. In the Netherlands, the British forces were working in flooded conditions which demanded Wellingtons and thigh boots in vast supplies.

By the end of the war in 1945, the Wellington had become popular among men, women and children for wet weather wear. The boot had developed to become far roomier with a thick sole and rounded toe. Also, with the rationing of that time, labourers began to use them for daily work (per Wikipedia).

First, a Story:

I took a file and shaved off layers of my rubber work boots’ heels since they were worn in on one side, which caused me  pain when walking.

After I finished I showed my wife the fixed up boots and the bits of rubber that I had taken off saying: “My Boots are heeled”

Second, a Song:

Here is a traditional Newfoundland song: “With Me Rubber Boots On” performed by Hayward Strickland, an Accordion Player and Songwriter from Newfoundland, Canada,

This is from Hayward Stickland’s Facebook page: “I play the button accordion in the band Ocean Tides. I write and record Newfoundland songs and music.I have about 40 songs written.Some are recorded on my CDs. I build model boats and Dories. Most of the boats are radio controlled.”

Here is “With Me Rubber Boots On” with many images of Newfoundland set to Hayward’s performance.  I hope you enjoy this!


Thought for the Day:

“Peter threw my coat at me and said we were taking the dog for a walk. He went down on one knee in the downpour and produced this ring! I looked horrible in my wellies with wet hair.” – Autumn Phillips

Responses for the Mark Twain Smile:

Dr. Frank Fowlie of Richmond, BC, Canada writes that Samuel Clements was a beloved Freemason.

Rosalyn Manthorpe of Vancouver, BC, Canada writes: 

“Troy and I have been indeed enjoying your daily pieces.  The work you put into them must be tremendous, but I am sure it is interesting and rewarding, as well.

The “Thought” about cheering yourself by cheering others seemed an apt prompt for me to express our appreciation.”


Have a great day!

Dave & Colleen

© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky

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