Franklin Augustus Seiberling

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About Franklin Augustus Seiberling

Frank A. Seiberling, founder of Goodyear and Seiberling Rubber companies. 

Frank built Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in 1915. The Manor House of 65 rooms and 70 acres is now a tourist attraction in Akron, Ohio.

Frank Augustus Seiberling (October 6, 1859 – August 1955) was an American inventor and founder. He is most famous for co-founding the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in 1898 and the Seiberling Rubber Company in 1921. He also built Stan Hywet Hall, a Tudor Revival mansion, now a National Historic Landmark and historic house museum in Akron, Ohio.


Son of a German American entrepreneur from Ohio,[1] Seiberling spent two years attending Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio, before joining the J. F. Seiberling Company, his father’s farm machinery manufacturing business, working there as secretary and treasurer.[2] His father, John Seiberling, founder of that Akron company, invented one of the first reaping machines. While working for the company, Seiberling invented a twine binder which tied grain bundles with a bow knot.[3]

Many businesses failed in the panics of the 1890s, including the street railway company owned by Seiberling's father. In 1898, he was jobless, nearing forty years of age, with a wife and three children. Seiberling learned of the availability of an old strawboard factory in East Akron, which he purchased, together with the 7 acres (28,000 m2) it stood on, for $13,500.[4] He borrowed $3,500 for a down payment from a brother-in-law, Lucius C. Miles,[5] who would become the company's third president in 1900. In a few days he had decided what business he would go into, picked a name, and was selling stock. The business would be rubber; the company would be named for Charles Goodyear, the discoverer of vulcanization, who had died penniless almost forty years before.[4]

In 1899, Raymond C. Penfield, another brother-in-law, became the second president of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. In 1906, Seiberling became the fourth president of the company, a position he held until 1921. He was known as the "little Napoleon" of the rubber industry because of his small stature and his unremitting determination to succeed. He played a leading role in developing Akron, Ohio from a small town into the "rubber capital of the world."[4]

1921, Goodyear was refinanced and reorganized, and Seiberling and his brother Charles resigned from the company. He then began the Seiberling Rubber Company in Barberton, Ohio. During his lifetime, Seiberling became famous for his fair treatment of workers.[2] In 1985, Seiberling was inducted into the Tire Industry Hall of Fame. Philanthropy Akron's Holy Trinity Lutheran church, at which Seiberling was influential[6]

In June 1911, Seiberling announced that he was financing an attempt at a transatlantic airship flight, to be headed by Melvin Vaniman.[3] In July 1912, the airship Akron (ZR-4) exploded, and Vaniman and his crew were killed.[7]

He donated millions of dollars to charitable causes in his community. He served on the board of trustees of Buchtel College and assisted the college in becoming the University of Akron.[2] Personal life

Seiberling was born on October 6, 1859, in Western Star, Ohio, a community a few miles from Akron, in Summit County, Ohio. In 1887, he married Gertrude Ferguson Penfield (1866–1946). He died in August 1955 and was buried in Glendale Cemetery in Akron, Ohio.[8]

His grandson, John F. Seiberling, was a U.S. Congressman from Ohio.

Businessman. He founded Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in 1898 and The Seiberling Rubber Co. later on. Also known for his beautiful Akron estate "Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens", which was built from 1912 to 1916 and is open to the public today.

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Franklin Augustus Seiberling's Timeline

Western Star, Ohio
July 24, 1888
Age 29
Akron, Summit, Ohio, United States
Age 31
Age 33
Age 39
Age 40
Age 42
Michigan, United States
Age 49
Age 96