Goodyear Zeppelin Company
The Goodyear company hangar in Akron, Summit County, Ohio, ca. 1940-1949.
In 1916, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company purchased land near Akron, Ohio, to build a plant that could produce airships. In 1923, the main Goodyear Company created a subsidiary known as the Goodyear Zeppelin Company to manufacture airships, including airships for the United States Navy and for leisure. By the late 1920s and the early 1930s, among the firm's completed zeppelins were the Pony, Pilgrim, Puritan, Volunteer, Mayflower, Vigilant, Defender, Reliance, Resolute, Enterprise, Ranger, and Columbia. Most of these ships utilized helium to become airborne, while zeppelins originally used heated air or hydrogen. During this period, other companies, especially European ones, were constructing airships to transport passengers, including across the Atlantic Ocean. Goodyear also manufactured two airships, the Akron and the Macon, for the United States military during the early 1930s. During World War II, the company manufactured 104 airships for the military at its Akron facility.
Following World War II, the Goodyear Zeppelin Company continued to manufacture airships, but it also expanded into producing other types of aircraft and aircraft parts. The main thrust of the company, however, remained the airships. The company now used the zeppelins almost exclusively for advertising purposes. In 1966, the firm created the "Skytacular," a four-color sign that could be flown from blimps and read especially at night by people on the ground. Beginning in the 1950s, the Goodyear airships commonly appeared at major sporting events. The firm manufactured over three hundred zeppelins between 1917 and 1995, but it currently only operates four airships in the United States.
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