February 12, 2007

Goodyear

And the man behind the brand is...
Charles Goodyear

In 1898 Frank A. Seibering was nearly insolvent. His family had started and operated several Akron enterprises including flour milling, oatmeal production, banking, real estate, the Akron Academy of Music, a rubber company, and manufacturing of strawboard, mowers and reapers. All were lost in the years of financial distress in the wake of the Panic of 1893.

Seibering was in Chicago to liquidate much of his holdings when he happened upon an Ohio business acquaintance who was looking to dispose of a seven-acre strawboard plant whose main assets were a small power plant and two dilapidated buildings facing each other on opposite banks of Akron's Little Cuyahoga River.
He had invested $140,000 in the property, he said, but was seeking only $50,000. The desperate buyer accepted Seibering's offer of $13,500.

Seibering returned to Akron wondering what he was going to do with the old plant and how he was going to pay for it. He borrowed the down payment from his brother-in-law and other relatives loaned him money to start a rubber company. He had worked around his father's Akron India Rubber Company, one of his father's businesses, so the industry was not totally unfamiliar to him.
His brother Charles, who had worked three years for India Rubber, joined him in the enterprise.

The new business was incorporated on August 29, 1898 as the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in honor of Charles Goodyear who had accidentally discovered the vulcanization of rubber in 1839 when he dropped rubber and sulphur onto his kitchen stove. Goodyear died insolvent in 1860 at the age of 60.
The company named for him would be the largest tire company in the world in only 18 years with sales exceeding $100,000,000. Every dollar invested in Goodyear in the beginning was then worth $100.

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