Goodyear’s petroleum consumption could be reduced by up to seven million gallons each and every year thanks to the soybean.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Aug. 11, 2012
Goodyear -- Not just a part of American history but a part of its future as well.
A look back
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company began when a 38-year-old entrepreneur and founder, Frank A. Seiberling, purchased the company’s first plant with a $3,500 down payment. The rubber and cotton that were the lifeblood of the industry had to be transported from halfway around the world, to a landlocked town that had only limited rail transportation. Even the man the company’s name memorialized, Charles Goodyear, had died penniless 30 years earlier despite his discovery of vulcanization after a long and courageous search.
The bicycle craze of the 1890s was booming and the horseless carriage or automobile was soon the become the way to the future. So on August 29, 1898, Goodyear was incorporated with a capital stock of $100,000 USD.
David E. Hill, who purchased $30,000 of stock, became the first president. But it was the dynamic and visionary founder, hard-driving Seiberling, who chose the name and determined the distinctive trademark. The winged-foot trademark, inspired by a newel-post statuette of Mercury in the Seiberling home, has been altered over the years. Yet, it remains an integral part of the Goodyear signature, a symbolic link with the company’s historic past.
With just 13 employees, Goodyear production began on November 21, 1898, with a product line of bicycle and carriage tires, horseshoe pads and -- fitting the gamble Seiberling was making -- poker chips. The first recorded payroll amounted to $217.86 based on the prevailing wage of 13 to 25 cents an hour for a 10-hour day. After the first full month of business, sales amounted to $8,246. Since the first bicycle tire in 1898, Goodyear pedaled its way toward becoming the world’s largest tire company, a title it earned in 1916 when it adopted the slogan:
"More people ride on Goodyear tires than on any other kind."
Soon after, Goodyear became the world’s largest rubber company…
Goodyear looking forward
Late last month Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company announced a development that could help consumers and the environment by reducing the amount of petroleum-based oil used in their tires while at the same time extending tread life
Goodyear R&D at the company’s Innovation Center found that using soybean oil in tire construction can potentially increase tread life by 10 percent and reduce the tiremaker’s use of petroleum-based oil by up to seven million gallons each year!
In addition, testing at Goodyear’s tire plant in Lawton, Oklahoma showed improved mixing capabilities in the manufacturing process. The company found that rubber compounds made with soybean oil blend more easily with the silica used in building tires. This can improve plant efficiency and reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear’s CTO said in a prepared statement:
“Consumers benefit through improved tread life, Goodyear gains with increased energy savings and we all win with a positive impact on the environment.”
Prototype tires will be tested at Goodyear’s Proving Grounds in the coming months. If results remain positive, Goodyear expects consumers will be able to purchase tires made with soybean oil as early as 2015.
Looking forward, Goodyear and DuPont are working together to develop BioIsoprene, a revolutionary bio-based alternative for petroleum-derived isoprene, a major ingredient of tire construction. BioIsoprene can be used for the production of synthetic rubber—which in turn is an alternative for natural rubber—and other elastomers. The development of BioIsoprene may help further reduce the tire and rubber industry’s dependence on petroleum-derived base stocks.
Another Goodyear is Air Maintenance Technology (AMT). AMT will help enable tires to remain inflated at the optimum pressure without the need for any external pumps or electronics. All components of the AMT system will be fully contained within the tire. The potential benefits of this system include improved fuel economy, reduced emissions, longer tire life, enhanced safety and performance
With current generation Goodyear Assurance FuelMax tires on both the MDX and Accord, I look forward to the day they will be replaced with the next generation of FuelMax possibly made with both soybeans and synthetics.