AKRON, Ohio — The first 50 years of the 20th Century saw Northeast Ohio become an industrial giant.
The roots of the transformation began in the 19th Century with basic industry such as steel, rubber and light manufacturing that grew rapidly, becoming industrial mass production and spawning high-tech research, some of which remains.
An example is the B.F Goodrich Corp., which moved to Akron from New York in 1870, becoming the city’s first tire maker, though the need for automotive tires was decades away.
One of its researchers, Clevelander Frank Herzegh, a 1926 graduate of West Technical High School and 1930 graduate of Case Institute of Technology, designed one of the first successful tubeless tires, testing them against tubed tires in high-speed rollover blowouts in 1947, according to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.
Goodrich by then was a major tire maker. Later, in part through mergers and acquisitions, it became a developer of specialty chemicals and then a manufacturer of components for the aircraft industry.
In 1948, the company opened its Corporate Research and Development Center in Brecksville. Its purpose was to develop new rubber and plastic products. It was also the headquarters for the company’s specialty chemicals division.