The 38-year-old founder, Industrialist and entrepreneur Franklin Augustus Seiberling, purchased the company’s first plant with a $3,500 down payment — using money he borrowed from his brother-in-law, Lucius C. Miles. The company originally manufactured bicycle and carriage tires, rubber horseshoe pads, and poker chips. The bicycle craze of the 1890s was booming. The horseless carriage — some ventured to call it the automobile — was a wide-open challenge.
Seiberling named his fledgling rubber goods manufacturing company “Goodyear” to honor Charles Goodyear, the man who invented the vulcanization process for curing rubber. Seiberling founded the company with his brother, Charles Willard, because of their desire to participate in an enterprise that afforded an “opportunity for invention.” Incorporated in 1898, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company rapidly grew with the young automotive industry and helped establish Akron as the “Rubber Capital of the World.”