August 29th, 1898 – Look! It’s the Goodyear Blimp!


The first Goodyear factory opened in Akron, Ohio, on August 29th, 1898. The thirteen original employees manufactured bicycle and carriage tires, rubber horseshoe pads, and poker chips. The company grew with the advent of the automobile, and later started experimenting with airship design.

Goodyear Blimp

In 1901 Frank Seiberling provided Henry Ford with racing tires, in 1903, Paul Weeks Litchfield was granted a patent for the first tubeless automobile tire, and by 1908 Ford was outfitting his Model T with Goodyear tires.

In 1909 Goodyear manufactured its first aircraft tire, and two years later moved into airship design. It later manufactured airships and observation balloons for the United States Army Air Service during World War I. The transport and reconnaissance capabilities that Goodyear provided contributed significantly to the Allied victory. In 1924, Litchfield, as Goodyear Vice President, forged a joint venture with the head of Zeppelin to form the Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation.


By 1926 Goodyear was the largest rubber company in the world. Only four years earlier it was forced to temporarily halt production of racing tires due to heavy competition. Nevertheless, the popularity of the Goodyear tire on the racing circuit led to a popular demand for the return of the brand.

Airship Chronicles Banner


One Response to “August 29th, 1898 – Look! It’s the Goodyear Blimp!

  • Goodyear and other rubber support companies brought my would-be forefathers to Akron to build tires. With Corporate still here, Goodyear continues to be a force in the area.

    Various polymer technologies are very much alive and kicking here in town, and our local universities bring out polymer firsts every year.

    Now, being one who sells leather, and that rubber did take away some of MY business, I don’t mind too much.. At least its compatible with steampunk and aviation life 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar