Description: Portrait of Benjamin Franklin Goodrich, who established the first rubber company west of the Allegheny Mountains in Akron, Ohio, in 1870.
Goodrich (1841-1888) helped make Akron, Ohio, the "Rubber Capital of the World" during the late 1800s. Before becoming involved in the rubber industry, Goodrich attended Cleveland Medical College (modern-day Case Western Reserve School of Medicine) where he specialized in surgery. Following the Civil War, Goodrich left medicine and became involved in other pursuits, including working in some of Pennsylvania's oilfields and, in 1867, opening a real estate office in New York City. He became involved in the rubber industry in 1869, soon becoming the largest stockholder in the Hudson River Rubber Company in New York. Goodrich faced stiff competition from numerous other rubber producers and decided to move his business to Akron, where local residents had collected $13,600 to encourage Goodrich to relocate. At this time, no other rubber manufacturers existed west of the Appalachian Mountains, and Goodrich hoped to dominate the rubber industry in the Midwest and Far West. He opened his Akron plant, the Akron Rubber Works, in March 1871, employing twenty workers. The plant made numerous items but focused on fire hoses that would not burst under pressure. The company, which became known as the B.F. Goodrich Company, grew slowly during the 1870s, nearly going bankrupt twice, but the business gained momentum during the 1880s and 1890s. In 1888, an Irish veterinarian invented the pneumatic (air-filled) tire out of rubber. It became very popular among bicyclists, providing the rider with a much smoother ride. With the invention of the automobile, demands for tires skyrocketed. The first tires were solid rubber, but the B.F. Goodrich Company quickly developed a pneumatic tire suitable for cars. By 1892, four years after B.F. Goodrich's death, the company employed four hundred workers and sold more than 1.4 million dollars worth of products. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: AL04241 Subjects: Rubber industry and trade--Ohio; Ohio Economy--Science and Technology Places: Akron (Ohio); Summit County (Ohio)
Description: Poster advertisement for Goodyear Pneumatic Cord Tires for trucks. The poster features black-and-white photographs of trucks using the pneumatic cord tires while making an 8-day round trip between Akron, Ohio, and Boston, Massachusetts, in 1918. Pneumatic tires rely on a network of cords to provide their shape and enough tensile strength to maintain sufficient inflation.
Frank Seiberling (1859-1955) founded the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in 1898. Located on the banks of the Little Cuyahoga River in Akron, the company operated in a converted strawboard factory with thirteen employees. Although its main product was tires, the company also made rubber poker chips, fire hoses, and horseshoe pads. By 1926 it had become the largest rubber company in the world. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: OVS7660 Subjects: Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company; Tire industry; Rubber industry; Automotive technology; Transportation--Ohio; Places: Akron (Ohio); Summit County (Ohio)
Description: Taken by U.S. Film Service photographer Edwin Locke, ca. 1937, this photograph shows a rubber yard in Akron, Ohio. Numerous rubber companies operated in or near Akron, Ohio, making this city the "Rubber Capital of the World." Among the large-scale rubber producers in the area were the B.F. Goodrich Company, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, and the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. The advent of the bicycle and the automobile sparked an economic boom which drew workers not only from surrounding counties, but from neighboring states as well.
This photograph is one of the many visual materials collected for use in the Ohio Guide. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Works Progress Administration by executive order to create jobs for the large numbers of unemployed laborers, as well as artists, musicians, actors, and writers. The Federal Arts Program, a sector of the Works Progress Administration, included the Federal Writers’ Project, one of the primary goals of which was to complete the America Guide series, a series of guidebooks for each state which included state history, art, architecture, music, literature, and points of interest to the major cities and tours throughout the state. Work on the Ohio Guide began in 1935 with the publication of several pamphlets and brochures. The Reorganization Act of 1939 consolidated the Works Progress Administration and other agencies into the Federal Works Administration, and the Federal Writers’ Project became the Federal Writers’ Project in Ohio. The final product was published in 1940 and went through several editions. The Ohio Guide Collection consists of 4,769 photographs collected for use in Ohio Guide and other publications of the Federal Writers’ Project in Ohio from 1935-1939.
View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: SA1039AV_B13F10_003_001 Subjects: Akron (Ohio); Ohio--History--Pictorial works; Rubber industry and trade; Works Progress Administration; Ohio Federal Writers' Project Places: Akron (Ohio); Summit County (Ohio)
Description: Original description reads: "Rubber tires created for milk wagons in Akron, O."
A nickname of Akron is the Rubber Capital of the World; and for good reason. By the second half of the 1800s, railroads connected Akron to other important cities in Ohio, and numerous industries emerged. The rubber industry being the most important and historically significant of these. For a time Akron was the fastest growing city in America, its population exploding from 69,000 in 1910 to 208,000 in 1920. People came for the jobs in the rubber factories from many places, including Europe and West Virginia. Probably among the most famous companies established in Akron were the B.F. Goodrich Company and the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, both rubber and tire manufacturers that began to prosper after the advent of the automobile age. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: SA1039AV_B09F13_002_1 Subjects: Rubber industry and trade--Ohio--Akron; Automobiles--Tires; Milk--Transportation Places: Akron (Ohio); Summit County (Ohio)
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