Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

The connection between Goodyear tires, the Goodyear blimp, and cotton in Arizona

If you've lived in the Phoenix, Arizona area for a while you may have wondered if there is a connection between Goodyear tires, The Goodyear Blimp, cotton in Arizona, and the town of Goodyear. There is.

It all starts with the explosive demand for rubber tires during World War I. Back then cotton was used to reinforce rubber tires, and the best cotton for it was wildly expensive as it was only grown in the middle east. But the Goodyear company decided that it would try to grow that type of cotton in an area of the US that had a very similar climate to the middle east - Phoenix, Arizona.

1917 ad for the Cotton Department of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Phoenix, Arizona.

They were successful, to put it mildly. So much so that Cotton became one of the five "Cs" of the Arizona economy, along with Copper, Cattle, Citrus, and Climate. And as the demand for rubber tires with the new-fangled invention of the "automobile" grew, Goodyear, and Arizona cotton, thrived.

Of course, cotton hasn't been used to reinforce tires for a long time, so its importance to the Arizona economy has faded into history. But there is a very strong history there, and it continues to this day.

The Goodyear sign in the 1960s, Grand Avenue, Thomas Road, and the I-17 Freeway, Phoenix, Arizona. The sign doesn't say Goodyear anymore, but it's still the same shape.

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