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Edwin Kelly originally called the company the Rubber Tire Wheel Company because it made rubber carriage wheels. Arthur Grant was issued US 554675 , a patent 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 $2. Arthur Grant received $166,000 in stock and $33,000 in cash for his share of the company. The McMillin 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 Company.
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, details of which called for the city of Cumberland to provide a free 81 acres (33 hectares) site and $750,000 toward construction of the plant. The city of Cumberland also agreed to make improvements for roads, water and sewerage lines and other essential construction. In turn, once operating, the plant began to employ over 3,000 people, and had a production capacity of five times the production capacity of the company until that point. 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 built in 1963 at Freeport, Illinois and the third plant in 1969 in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
After 66 years of operation, 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 city.
In 1994 the Kelly-Springfield Tire Company celebrated 100 years. At that time it was the oldest tire company in the United States.
In the 1990s, Kelly-Springfield was absorbed by parent company Goodyear and moved its corporate headquarters to Akron, Ohio.
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