Ravenna's Rubber Industry

Ravenna was once the home of a thriving rubber industry. Originally, Akron was the only rubber-producing city in the region. Many Ravenna residents worked in the Akron factories and commuted by streetcar. Eventually, businesses decided to locate factories in Ravenna as well. Rubber companies that were once located in Ravenna include Ravenna Rubber Products, Oak Rubber, White Rubber, McElrath Tire, Cascade Tire, Pyramid Rubber, Enduro Rubber, Fountain Rubber, Trexler Rubber, and many others. Reed Memorial Library has a collection of documents and artifacts relating to the rubber companies, particularly Oak Rubber and Trexler Rubber. More information can also be found at the Portage County Historical Society.

 

Oak Rubber Company

  • Founded in Akron in 1916 by Paul Colette and John Shira.
  • Moved to Ravenna after a flood, with encouragement by the Ravenna Chamber of Commerce, which was established in 1914.
  • Ravenna factory destroyed by huge fire in 1920, then rebuilt before the end of the year.
  • At one time, employed more than 350 people.
  • Closed in 1993.
  • Oak rubber was the largest producer of toy balloons in the world, and was the official producer of Mickey Mouse balloons for Disney.
  • During WWII, the company produced raincoats and weather balloons for the military. In July, 1944, the employees were given the Army-Navy "E" Award for their contributions to the war effort.

 

Trexler Rubber Company

  • Founded in 1935 by William H. Trexler Sr., who was also an employee of the Oak Rubber Company.
  • Made many specialized products that could not be manufactured on a large scale.
  • Most famous for their pneumatic tires for model airplanes.
  • Trexler Rubber's international customers included government agencies including NASA, branches of the military, medical and veterinary product and device manufacturers, and toy manufacturers.
  • Company is still in business today, and is located on North Diamond Street.

 

Materials from the Oak Rubber Company:

Box of toy balloons, including Mickey Mouse balloon

Toy rubber figures

Metal molds used to create balloons and toy figures, including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Ceramic mold used to create rubber gloves

Press release photos from the July, 1944 Army-Navy "E" Award ceremony

Employee I.D. badge

Sales Brochures

Price catalogs

 

Materials from the Trexler Rubber Company:

Ledger book

Model airplane pneumatic tires and molds

Boxes used to package model airplane tires

Printing plates used to create logos

Bank deposit bags