Women’s work, too, had grown far easier than in colonial or Revolutionary times. Spinning and weaving were now done by machine in large mills; cooking was made simpler by the discovery of coal and gas and the invention of friction matches; and even sewing and knitting took far less time since they could be done by machinery. The Patent Office was so busy registering all the new inventions made, that it had to have a large force of clerks.
Countless other discoveries were soon to make life still easier and pleasanter. For instance, a few years later, a man named Charles Goodyear, accidently discovered how to “vulcanize” rubber after dropping rubber and sulfur on a hot stove. This new process prevents rubber from melting in summer and freezing or breaking in winter. Before long, clothes, shoes, diving dresses, and countless other articles were made of rubber, which is so useful in many ways that we could hardly get along without it.