Goodyear: Where the Rubber Hits the Road


On this date in 1898, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company was founded.

Here are some things you may not have known about Goodyear.

The company was not founded by Charles Goodyear, who was credited with inventing vulcanized rubber.

The company was founded almost four decades after Goodyear died. It was named after him by the company founder Frank Seiberling.

Initially, the factory in Akron, Ohio, employed 13 workers and made tires for bicycles and carriages, along with horseshoe pads and poker chips.

In 1901, the company began providing racing tires to Henry Ford, who would use Goodyear tires on his Model T starting in 1908.

Paul Weeks Litchfield, the superintendent of the Akron plan, invented and patented the tubeless tire in 1903.

During World War I, Goodyear built airships and observation balloons for the U.S. Army. For more on this, go to and search for our Zeppelins episode.

By 1926, Goodyear was the largest rubber company in the world. The company went public the next year with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

During World War II, Goodyear manufactured Corsair fighter planes for the U.S. military.

In the mid-1960s, the Michelin Company of France began introducing its radial tire in the United States. Goodyear and the other American tire companies made bias-ply tires. Radial tires got better mileage because of a decrease in rolling resistance, and they also provided more traction at higher speeds. In 1968, Consumer Reports magazine rated radial tires as superior to bias ply tires.

In 1974, Goodyear invested heavily in radial tire technology. As a result, of the five largest American tire companies in 1970, only Goodyear remains independent today.

In motorsports, Goodyear has the most victories of any tire supplier in Formula One history, despite last participating in the sport in 1998. The company remains the exclusive tire supplier to NASCAR’s top three national series.

Our question: What other three major tire companies were based in Akron, Ohio?

Today is International Day Against Nuclear Tests, Miners’ Day in Ukraine, and National Sports Day in India.

It’s unofficially Chop Suey Day, Lemon Juice Day, and Motorist Consideration day.

It’s the birthday of actress Ingrid Bergman, who was born in 1915; Arizona Sen. John McCain, who is 80; and musician Michael Jackson, who was born in 1958.

Because our topic happened before 1960, we’ll spin the wheel to pick a year at random.

This week in 1982, the top song in the U.S. was “Abracadabra” by The Steve Miller Band.

The No. 1 movie was “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” while “Different Seasons” by Stephen King topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Weekly question

What tire company is the exclusive supplier to Formula One?


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