VOLCANO, VULCANIZATION

The English language is indebted to Vulcan, the Roman god of fire, for some important words. One is vulcanization, the name of a process invented by Charles Goodyear to make rubber stronger, more elastic, resistant to solvents, and unaffected by normal heat and cold. So important is this invention that almost all rubber today is vulcanized. Another is volcano, a vent in the earth’s crust through which lava, steam, and ashes are thrown up.
Vulcanus, or Vulcan as he is known in English, lived a most unusual life. He was thrown into the sea by his mother because he was born lame. According to another version, Vulcan sided with Juno, his mother, against Jupiter, his father. Jupiter thereupon hurled him from heaven. He was nine days in falling and was saved by the people of Lemnos from crashing to earth, but one leg was broken, hence his lameness.
Vulcan, as the god of fire, became the armorer of the gods. His workshops were under Mount Etna in Sicily and in the bowels of volcanoes; the Cyclops assisted him in forging thunderbolts for Jupiter.
Vulcan was consumed by amatory desires, not only his own but also his wife’s. He was married to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. One day Vulcan learned that she was disporting herself with Mars. He schemed to embarrass them by constructing an invisible net that descended around their bed during their lovemaking. While they were still embracing, Vulcan summoned the other gods to look and laugh at the guilty pair.
A vulcanist subscribes to the theory that fire has changed the earth’s
surface. At one time the earth was in a state of igneous fusion, and its crust has gradually cooled down to its present temperature.
The planet Vulcan, a creation of writers of Star Trek, was the former home of its most distinguished character, the unflappable Mr. Spock.