He received his M.D. from Cleveland Medical College (now Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine) and studied surgery at the University of Pennsylvania in 1863. He then served as a battlefront surgeon for the Union Army in the Civil War. After a few years of a struggling medical practice, he went to work in Pennsylvania's oilfields, then became a real estate speculator. In 1869 he used most of his real estate profits to purchase the Hudson River Rubber Company, a small business in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. The following year Goodrich accepted an offer of $13,600 from the citizens of Akron, Ohio, to relocate his business there
After the war he reached a licensing agreement with Charles Goodyear and bought the Hudson Rubber Company in partnership with J.P. Morris. The company, located in Melrose, New York, failed. In 1870 he moved to Akron, Ohio, to found the company that still bears his name, B. F. Goodrich Corporation. The radial tire was designed by an advertising employee in his company.
Benjamin Goodrich was the first man in Akron, Ohio, to own a telephone. He acquired one as a gift from Alexander Graham Bell in 1877. The telephone was connected from Goodrich's house on Quaker Street to his factory on Rubber Street.
According to legend, Goodrich had seen a friend's home burn to the ground, with firefighters rendered helpless because their leather hoses had frozen and cracked. Once settled in Akron, Goodrich ordered his company to begin producing cotton-wrapped rubber hose, impervious to freezing. A few years later Goodrich started selling garden hoses (allowing bucket-less garden watering) and bicycle tires. Still, the company teetered near bankruptcy and went through numerous name changes; its success was still uncertain when Goodrich died at the age of 46 in 1888.
Business began booming at B. F. Goodrich Company a few years after Goodrich's death with the company's introduction of a pneumatic tire that could bear the speeds and loads of the evolving automobile. Over subsequent decades, Goodrich Company chemists invented plasticized polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in 1926; synthesized rubber in 1937; and built early space suits for NASA astronauts in the 1960s. Now renamed Goodrich Corporation, the company abandoned the tire business in 1988 and now describes itself as "a global supplier of systems and services to the aerospace, defense and homeland security markets". The brand name Goodrich now appears on tires made by Michelin, which bought Uniroyal-B. F. Goodrich's tire business in 1994.
Father: Anson Goodrich (born 15-April–1792, died 17-June–1847)
Mother: Susannah Dinsmoor Goodrich (born 12-January–1799, m. April–1816)
Wife: Mary Elizabeth Marvin Goodrich (born 3-July–1841, m. 4-November–1869)
Son: Charles Cross Goodrich (Goodrich chemist, born 3-August–1871, died 1932)
Son: Marvin Goodrich (born 1872, d. infancy)
Daughter: Isabella Goodrich Breckinridge (born 8-February–1874, married son of John C. Breckinridge, died 1961)
Son: Daniel Marvin Goodrich (Goodrich executive, born 22-June–1876, died 1950)
- Goodrich Corporation website http://www.goodrich.com/Goodrich/Enterprise/About-Goodrich/A-History-of-Innovation/The-Early-Years
- Goodrich Corporation website