India rubber products, especially shoes, became quit popular in 1820's and 30's, even though such products could not stand up to extreme temperatures. Boston companies would buy rubber gum from New England merchant vessels arriving home from South America, where they picked up the gum as ballast. For this reason, Boston became a very active location for Indian Rubber and eventually, volcanized rubber production.
It was Charles Goodyear you final figured out how to "vulcanize rubber" for which he was awarded a patent in 1844. For a variety of reasons his patent was all but ignored and while many made millions from his invention, Mr. Goodyear did not and died quit poor.