The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company was founded in 1898 by Frank Seiberling, who purchased the company’s first plant with money he borrowed from his brother-in-law. The company’s name commemorated Charles Goodyear who died almost 40 years earlier. Goodyear discovered vulcanization by a fortunate accident, and made rubber a practical element in many industrial applications.
The bicycle craze of the 1890s was booming. The horseless carriage — some ventured to call it the automobile — was a wide-open challenge. Even the depression of 1893 was beginning to fade. The timing could not have been any better, so on August 29, 1898, Goodyear was incorporated with a capital stock of $100,000.
David Hill, who purchased $30,000 of stock, became the first president. But it was Frank Seiberling, who chose the name and determined the distinctive winged-foot trademark that remains the Goodyear signature, a symbolic link with the company's historic past.
Goodyear production began on November 21, 1898, with just 13 workers. A product line of bicycle and carriage tires, horseshoe pads and — fitting the gamble Seiberling was making — poker chips.
After the first month of business, sales amounted to $8,246. Since the first bicycle tire in 1898, Goodyear made its way to becoming the world's largest tire company, a title it earned in 1916. Goodyear adopted the slogan "More people ride on Goodyear tires than on any other kind," then became the world's largest rubber company in 1926.
Today, Goodyear has sales in excess of $18 billion; 53 years would pass before the company reached the first billion-dollar-year milestone. The company has more than 80,000 associates worldwide, and it all began in a converted strawboard factory on the banks of the Little Cuyahoga River in Akron, Ohio.