The number ’13’ was a lucky one for global tire and rubber manufacturer Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. The company was established by American inventor Frank Seiberling in 1898. The first manufacturing facility was founded in Akron, Ohio and had only employed 13 employees who were all significant in the production of the first products of the firm, which consisted of poker chips, rubber horseshoe pads and carriage and bicycle tires.
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company has never been in any way associated with Charles Goodyear, who became famous in 1839 for inventing the vulcanized rubber. However, Mr. Seiberling was very vocal in disclosing that the company was named to honor and commemorate Mr. Goodyear’s significant contribution to the rubber and automobile industry.
The big break for Goodyear tires did not come abruptly until 1901, when the company entered into a deal to supply racing tires to then budding car racing firm Ford Motor. Car designer Henry Ford outfitted his revolutionary Model T with tires supplied by Goodyear. The rest, of course, was history. In 1909, Goodyear tires started manufacturing aircraft tires, which now make Goodyear a renowned tire brand globally.
Goodyear emerged to become the biggest rubber manufacturer globally by 1926. By that time, Goodyear was largely known in the automobile industry as the best and most efficient racing tire brand. By that, the popularity of the Goodyear tires shot up and paved the way for further growth and wide-scale popularity.
The years that succeeded witnessed how Goodyear tires evolved as a brand and as a rubber and tire company. Through the years, the company expanded its portfolio of manufactured products to include other significant items like rubber hoses, several components for electric printers, insulators, shoe soles and tires for heavy machinery. During World War II, Goodyear played a significant role by helping develop the Corsair fighter aircraft to aid the very busy US Military.
As a multinational corporation, Goodyear expanded from being a rubber and tire maker into other fields of business. In 1956, the company started operating a nuclear processing facility in Ohio. In the 1970s, the company formed a unit called Goodyear Aerospace Corporation, which evolved from the Goodyear Aircraft Company that designed and produced aircraft, including the space shuttle. Like all other companies, Goodyear spent considerable amount of time and money to convert its initial Akron plant into a research and design Technical Center. In 1979, Goodyear ventured into computer designing by making the design for a supercomputer for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Goddard Spaceflight Center.
Through the years, there have been numerous victories and innovations made by the company. Goodyear has truly emerged as a conglomerate, a global firm that expanded into several lucrative and important ventures. As a tire maker, the company formed operations in important markets like the European Union region, Africa, North America, Latin America and the Asia Pacific region.
A number of subsidiaries have also been established like Fierce, Kelly Tires (which was an acquired rival), Lee, Dunlop, Debica in Poland, Sava in Slovenia and Fulda in Germany. The Goodyear tire brand also expanded into automotive, commercial and non-industrial tires.
To date, Goodyear is the third biggest maker of tires, coming after global giants Michelin and Bridgestone. No wonder, when people need tires for their cars, they would almost always have the Goodyear brand on their minds.