Kelly-Springfield Tire Company
Kelly-Springfield Tire Company History:
The Kelly-Springfield Tire Company was founded in
Springfield, Ohio by Edwin Kelly and Arthur Grant in 1894.
Edwin Kelly originally called the company The Rubber
Tire Wheel Company because it made rubber carriage wheels.
Arthur Grant was issued US patent 554675 for his solid
rubber tire in a rim channel. The tire was held on the
wheel by two longitudinal wires embedded in the rubber and
forming a circle of smaller circumference than the tire.
The tire was an instant success because the rubber stayed
on the wheel and the compound was of good quality.
The company was sold to the McMillin group in 1899 for
$1,200,000. Arthur Grant received $166,000 in stock and
$33,000 in cash for his share of the company. The
McMillion group renamed the new company Consolidated
Rubber Tire Company and it continued under that name until
1914. The name Kelly-Springfield Tire Company was given to
the New York sales subsidiary in 1911. Consolidated's name
was changed in 1914. "The" was added to the front of the
name in 1932 and it became The Kelly-Springfield Tire
Manufacturing was done at a plant in Akron, Ohio and
another plant was bought in Wooster, Ohio in 1915 and used
until 1921. The growth of the company continued until the
president, Van Cartwell decided to build a new plant in
Cumberland, Maryland. An agreement was signed on November
4, 1916. The plans called for the city of Cumberland to
provide a free site and $750,000 for the plant. The city
was also to make improvements for roads, water and
sewerage lines and other essential construction. The plant
site comprised 81 acres (33 hectares). The plant was to
employ over 3,000 people with a production capacity of
five times the current production capacity of the company.
The first tire was built on April 2, 1921.
The Kelly Springfield Tire Company was sold in 1935 to The
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and Edmund S. Burke became
president. He served as president from 1935 until 1959.
The company operated as a wholly owned subdivision. The
company continued to grow until 1962 when it added a new
plant in Tyler, Texas. Another plant was build in 1963 at
Freeport, Illinois and the third plant in 1969 in
Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Just 66 years after it made its first tire the Cumberland
plant was closed in 1987. In that same year the Lee Tire &
Rubber Company came under the control of
Kelly-Springfield. In November 1987 the corporate offices
were moved to a new facility on Willowbrook Road in
Cumberland. The original plant site was returned to the
In 1994 The Kelly-Springfield Tire Company celebrated 100
years. At that time it was the oldest tire company in the
In the 1990s, Kelly-Springfield was absorbed by parent
company Goodyear and moved its corporate headquarters to