Wheels of fortune: the story of rubber in Akron
University of Akron Press, 1998 - Business & Economics - 359 pages
Wheels of Fortune is the story of the rise and fall and transformation of the rubber industry in Akron, a book rich in anecdotes and photographs. This is history told by people who lived it, on the factory floors and in executive offices, their voices ringing through a narrative that has all the heroes and villains and epic sweep of a Steinbeck novel. For more than a century after Dr. Benjamin Franklin Goodrich came to town, in 1870, Akron, Ohio was the rubber capital of the world. The city prospered along with the tire factories, becoming a model for Middle America's industrial success. Its people worked in the rubber shops and lived in neighborhoods fostered by companies like Goodyear and Firestone. Even the air they breathed was heavy with the odors of rubber. But by the 1980s, most of the rubber industry had gone south, first the plants and then the company headquarters, a result of stubbornness in the union ranks, intransigence in the corporate boardrooms, and takeovers by foreign competitors. Akron began an awkward metamorphosis from a stronghold of blue-collar labor to a research and development center, finding its new identity in the broader fields of polymer science and technology.
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Airdock airship Akron Beacon Journal Akron's rubber American B. F. Goodrich Barrett became began blimp Bommarito Bridgestone Bridgestone/Firestone building company's Cooper corporate David Giffels deaf downtown early Eddie Thomas employees engineer F. A. Seiberling factory Findlay Firestone's Gault going Goldsmith Goodyear Aerospace Goodyear Chairman Goodyear Tire Harvey Firestone headquarters hundred interview by David interview by Steve John knew labor leaders Litchfield looked Maidenburg Mayor Mercer Michelin million moved Nardella Nevin O'Neil Ohio Park percent Pilliod plant closings Polymer Science production racing Rubber Capital Rubber City Rubber Company rubber industry rubber shops Semon Stan Hywet Stanley Gault Steve Love Street strike synthetic rubber takeover thing thousand tion Tire and Rubber tire builder tire companies tire plant took Trachsel union United Rubber Workers University of Akron vice president Waldo Semon wanted West World