Kelly Springfield Tires have been around even longer than cars ...
Springfield Tires Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Goodyear
Kelly Springfield was founded by Edwin S. Kelly in 1894. Kelly pooled his resources with another entrepreneur named Arthur W. Grant, to establish the tire company at a time when consumer demand for rubber was high, although at the time it was mainly driven by a bicycle craze.
It was only five years after Grant and Kelly had created their company that they decided to put it up for sale. They had gone into considerable debt to start the company and sold the company to the McMillin Company in 1899 for one million dollars. Arthur W. Grant decided to leave the tire industry, but Kelly stayed on, taking a role as general manager and vice president of the renamed firm, the Consolidated Rubber Tire Company. The organization then changed its name again in 1914 to the Kelly Springfield Tire Company.As vice president, Kelly purchased the Buckeye Rubber Company in New Jersey. He also became the driving force behind the purchase of the Columbia Pneumatic Wagon Wheel Company. At the time, a revolutionary new invention called the compressed air filled tire (or pneumatic) was starting to make its presence felt.
The company began manufacturing pneumatic auto tires in 1908. The market for pneumatic car tires remained small until Henry Ford's Model-Ts became available at very affordable prices. The First World War also tremendously influenced the demand for tires both in America and around the world.
Wartime profits enabled the company’s managers to plan the construction of the biggest and most modern tire manufacturing facility in the world in Cumberland. Work on the manufacturing facility begun in 1917, and was finally completed in1921. Despite the 1920s being prosperous for many companies, Kelly Springfield soon went bankrupt.
Edmund S. Burke took the helm as president of Kelly-Springfield in 1935, and remained in charge of the organization until 1959. Under his management, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company were persuaded to acquire Kelly Springfield as a wholly owned subsidiary.
Burke had a good mind for business but he was very conservative at the same time. He supported the innovation of selling products in gasoline stations, and this dramatically increased company sales for the first time since the end of the First World War.
Advertising was one thing Kelly Springfield Tires was well known for since its early days. Kelly Springfield tires were heavily advertised in all major glossy magazines of the day. And from 1915 to 1930, Kelly Springfield Tires even sponsored Broadway shows, and famous names in sports and theatre were recruited to promote Kelly Springfield tires. Burke kept up the advertising, including huge electric sign displays in New York's Times Square and other major cities.
The Second World War brought a major crisis in the way of a shortage of natural rubber. The rationing of rubber threatened the existence of many small rubber companies. Kelly Springfield, under Burke's helm, acted quickly and switched from producing tires to munitions. By 1943, synthetic rubber had been invented, and the U.S government ordered Kelly Springfield to return to making tires, of which there was a shortage.
Like many others, the company prospered during and after the war. When Burke retired in 1959 the company was 60 years old and had changed little over the years. Kelly Springfield Tires had failed to expand either its operations or its market range. 1962, Kelly Springfield acquired the Star Rubber Company, which was best known as a company that originally devised the first radial tires. Kelly also acquired three other corporations connected to Star: the Hick's Rubber Company, Richmond Rubber Company, and Richmond Tire & Rubber Company. In 1975, these subsidiaries merged as divisions within Kelly Springfield. In 1987, The Lee Tire & Rubber Company was acquired by Kelly Springfield as a subsidiary, also merging with Kelly-Springfield several years later.
Kelly Springfield Tires has undertaken an expansionistic attitude since Burke’s departure, and profits have soared, achieving its first $1 billion in sales in the late 1980s. Kelly Springfield also expanded into farm equipment tires and its products can be purchased through the likes of Sears, WalMart, and K-Mart.
Production of its tires increased with the addition of new facilities under new President and CEO George B. Newman. In 1961, the Tyler, Texas plant was constructed, followed by new facilities in Freeport, Illinois and the largest tire manufacturing plant in the world, in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Approximately 70 countries currently market Kelly Springfield tires, thanks in part to Goodyear's international distribution network.Kelly Springfield Tires has become a large, modern, profitable tire company that manufactures over 50 Kelly Springfield brands of tires and thousands of custom brand tires. Kelly Springfield's parent company, Goodyear, is the only major American tire company to have survived takeover bids from foreign concerns.
You can either write your review in the box you see
below or, if you feel you have a story to tell but want a little
bit of guidance to make a good review, I've prepared a
special form to help you get started. Follow the easy
steps of this simple form and when you've finished you'll
return here with the box below already completed and most of the work
Please note that we're not interested in receiving rants that
simply say "I think tire XXX is pure crap!", or glowing raves that tell
us nothing more than you love the tires. To be useful we
need more details and specifics ... hopefully even a photo of the tire
you are reviewing. Use the tire review wizard
to help tell your story. Cover most of the points, and you'll do fine.
Your experience can provide a valuable guide to others who are considering buying tires you've used.
Even if you don't consider yourself a great writer, or a demanding driver, what you know can help. As I mentioned above, if you want help in doing a review click on this easy Tire Review Wizard instead of using the form below. When you use it, you'll be brought back here to finish with the box already filled.
Click below to read reviews which other users, like yourself, have posted about their experiences.
Tire Reviews: Kelly Safari Trex
These tires are, by far, the worst tires I have ever owned. The ride is torture, constant vibration at all speeds and severe at 40-50 and 60-70mph. …
Tire Reviews: Trail Mark AT
I went through the winter of 2010 with a set of Trail Mark ATs with half tread and they were great on my Jeep. With them, I went through hell and back …
Kelley Navigator Not rated yet
I was interested in a set of Eagle's for my convertible. The salesman (TREASUR COAST, FL.) sold me on a set of KELLEY NAVIGATORS saying I'll get 70,000 …
Visit Tire Information World's Exclusive Tire Care and Accessories Store.