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In 1833, 33-year-old Charles Goodyear decided to find uses for rubber. Others had used it for rubber shoes and coats, but they melted during the heat of summer. Goodyear believed rubber could be "tanned" or "cured" like animal hides. Dropping all other interestes, Goodyear tried adding various chemicals to change rubber's properties, commandeering his wife's kitchen in the process.
As the story goes, in 1838, he met Nathanael Hayward, who discovered that mixing sulphur with rubber and exposing it to sunlight reduced its stickiness. He cured the mixture in an acid bath, which stabilized the rubber. He went into business in Woburn, MA, producing rubber products such as life preservers and mailbags, but discovered that prolonged exposure to heat still melted the product.
By Goodyear's own recounting, in 1839, he accidentally dropped a piece of sulfur-coated rubber he was holding onto the surface of a hot stove, where it charred like leather. The high temperature and short exposure to the heat changed the properties of not just the surface of the treated rubber, but the entire sample. He called the heating process vulcanization after the Roman god of fire, Vulcan. At first the process was hit and miss, but in 1841, Goodyear successfully applied the vulcanization process using heated cast iron.
Frank Seiberling borrows $3,500 from his brother-in-law Lucius Miles for the down payment needed to buy an abandoned strawboard factory on the banks of the Little Cuyahoga River in Akron, Ohio, founding The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The remainder would be paid in four yearly installments of $2,500.
A meeting to discuss the idea of a suitable trademark is held in August 1900. Among the sketches prepared for the meeting is one using the winged foot of Mercury.
First advertisement in Saturday Evening Post with Wingfoot trademark.
Paul Litchfield granted patent on first tubeless automobile tire.
1,200 sets of tires sold to Henry Ford for use on Model T automobile.
Company's first subsidiary and plant outside of the U.S. acquired in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.
Goodyear becomes world's largest tire company, initiates slogan "More people ride on Goodyear tires than on any other kind."
Goodyear builds its first blimp.
50,000-cubic-foot blimp, the Pilgrim, is the first commercial non-rigid airship to use helium.
Company awarded contract to build rigid airships Akron and Macon for the U.S. Navy.
Goodyear builds and tests first American-made synthetic rubber tire
Company awarded contract to build Corsair fighter planes.
Television first used for advertising with Goodyear sponsorship of The Goodyear Review, hosted by Paul Whiteman.
Full line of stock car racing tires marketed.
Goodyear produces its billionth tire.
Radial-ply tires made available in a full range of sizes to all auto manufacturers.
Custom Wide Tread Polyglas tire announced, combining best characteristics of bias-ply tires, radial-ply tires, and the popular "wide footprint."
Custom Steelgard Radial tire introduced — the only steel-belted radial accepted by all U.S. carmakers for their 1973 models.
Goodyear introduces two notable advances in tire design; Tiempo, the first all-season tire, and the revolutionary fuel-saving elliptic tire.
Plans announced to turn an idle Akron tire plant into a new $75-million Technical Center.
New family of Eagle high-performance tires introduced at Daytona, Florida.
Goodyear's three billionth tire is manufactured at the Danville, Virginia truck tire plant.
Goodyear announces development of radial tires for aircraft.
A new airship is christened The Spirit of Akron in recognition of the community's support for the company.
The Eagle radial racing tire makes its debut and carries Al Unser Sr. to victory in the Indianapolis 500.
The Chinese government grants applications for the Goodyear-Dalian joint venture to manufacture tires in China.
Deal signed with NASCAR, making Goodyear the "exclusive tire supplier" of NASCAR's top three race divisions.
Goodyear announces a $1-billion global alliance with Japan's Sumitomo Rubber Industries, which has rights to the Dunlop tire brand in much of the world, to establish six joint ventures in North America, Europe, and Japan. Goodyear becomes the world's largest tire company when the alliance takes effect.
Assurance tires featuring TripleTred and ComforTred technology introduced.
Ground broken on new global headquarters in Akron.
Development of Goodyear's Air Maintenance Technology announced.
Goodyear holds the grand opening of the new global headquarters in Akron.