Franklin August Seiberling (1859-1955) in 1898 co-founded The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in Akron with his younger brother, Charles W. The company began manufacturing high quality, inexpensive tires in 1898 that put the automobile industry on a roll and helped establish Akron as the "Rubber Capital of the World." In a mere 18 years after its founding, Goodyear had become the world's largest tire company named for Charles Goodyear (1800-1860) of Connecticut whose patent number 3,633 confirmed the process of vulcanization of rubber. Vulcanization strengthened rubber for industrial applications including automobile tires by combining sulphur and white lead with India-rubber under heat, thus altering the characteristics of the product, and in the words of Goodyear, " [so] as not to become softened by the action of solar ray or of artificial heat at a temperature below that to which it was submitted in its preparation . . . nor will it be injuriously affected by exposure to cold."
Seiberling attended Heidelberg College, in Tiffin, Ohio, and then began his career working at his father's company, The Empire Mower Works. After launching Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, he was named Goodyear's president in 1906.
Frank Seiberling led the company for just over two decades, before he and his brother resigned in 1921 as the company suffered severe financial losses during an economic recession. After leaving the company, the two men founded the Seiberling Rubber Company.
Wherever he worked, Seiberling was recognized as a fair employer who had a special focus on protecting the health and safety of his workers. He was credited with striving to create a safe work environment. Along the way designed the first tire building machine and detachable wheel rim.
His one-time home, Stan Hywet Hall, is one of the largest private residences in Ohio, and is now a museum, garden, and landmark in Akron.
Did You Know?
Franklin Augustus Seiberling, Jr. (1908-1990) worked at the Toledo Museum of Art prior to World War II, and then became an associate professor of art history at Ohio State University.
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