In the tire and rubber market since 1898, the famous Goodyear company has proven itself. Considered one of the four largest manufacturers of tires in the world, the company has certainly grown since its founding in Akron, Ohio. Virtually everyone has seen the famous yellow winged boot and it’s not just because of the quality of their products! While Goodyear is a great name in automotive innovation and produces high quality tires, it is their various creative and fun marketing campaigns that have made the brand so recognizable.
However, it is one of their oldest publicity stunts that still has the greatest effect today: the legendary Goodyear blimp. After purchasing a factory in Ohio in 1917 to build zeppelins, the firm decided to found a division dedicated entirely to the creation of these aircrafts.
Being made of tire-like materials, at the time, this technology seemed to be the future of air travel. However, it wasn’t until 1925, after seven years of building military airships, that the company took advantage of this division for publicity purposes.
Evolution signed GoodYear
Over the years, the design and ornaments of the gigantic balloons changed greatly, from simple fabric printing to giant screens. The first of these systems, called the Neon-O-Gram, was already on the Defender in the 1930s, proving once again the company’s dedication to innovation.
In the course of the 20th century, the blimp became a true symbol anchored in popular culture. From The Beatles’ Help! to The Simpsons’ Duff Blimp, the image of the Goodyear blimp can be seen in many works. Finally, it is also well known for its contribution to the world of sports, making it possible to film sporting events from the air. It was even inducted into the Football Hall of Fame last year!
Today, the Goodyear fleet is made up of three aircrafts scattered across the United States: Wingfoot One in Florida, Wingfoot Two in California and Wingfoot Three in Ohio. Unlike their ancestors, they have been perfected to operate with low pressure helium to make them leak resistant. The three LZ N07-101 models are nearly 75 meters long and are still striking images, immediately reminiscent of the legendary rubber company.
As with their tires, Goodyear’s blimp technology has of course evolved a lot. From the flexible balloons of the past to today’s semi-rigid structures, however, one thing is certain: in the automotive world, the word “blimp” is synonymous with Goodyear!