Racine Rubber Company

Racine Rubber Company

The Racine Rubber Company was organized March 12, 1910, its first officers being C. F. U. Kelley, president ; Frank L. Mitchell, vice president ; Stuart Webster, treasurer, and J. H. Dwight, secretary. Mr. Kelley severed his connection with the business in 1912, at which time George B. Wilson became the president and so continued until January, 1914, when he, too, withdrew from connection with the business. At that date H. L. McLaren became president and advertising manager and in that position so continues, with Stuart Webster as vice president, general manager and treasurer ; H. C. Severance, secretary ; L. B. Patterson (Chicago), director; Joseph Wiessenbach (Chicago), director; and L. T. Vance, director and general factory manager.

The work of building the factory was begun on the 6th of June, 1910, and was completed April 1, 1911, since which time further additions have been made, thus enlarging the plant, which now covers three and one-half acres. The buildings are all modern in construction, three stories in height and are supplied with a sprinkler system. The volume of business is increasing continually and the house is now represented upon the road by two traveling salesmen. The output of the factory includes automobile, bicycle and motorcycle tires, which are sold all over the United States. The “Racine Tire” has become famous and the output now amounts from twelve to thirteen hundred tires per day. They buy the crude rubber from brokers and sell through distributors, and something of the extent of the enterprise is indicated in the fact that they employ between eight hundred and one thousand people. The undertaking has grown almost by leaps and bounds and its development has been directed and prompted by men of keen business discernment and indefatigable enterprise.

Source: Stone, Fanny S. Racine, Belle City of the lakes, and Racine County, Wisconsin : a record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement; Chicago: S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1916.

William Wishau: In 1917, Racine Rubber Company merged with Ajax Rubber company of Trenton, NJ and took a new name. It was Ajax that built the homes in the neighborhood we now all still call “Rubberville”. It was a 15 to 20 minute walk away. The area was platted out as Racine Rubber Company Addition, and the original intent was to house the workers at the Rubber factory. From 1917 to 1920, only employees of the Ajax Rubber company were allowed to live there. Sometime in 1920, an entity named Racine Housing Association was formed (seems like a shell company formed by Ajax to handle the completion of the housing project). In around 1922, the Racine Housing Association, Owners of “Oak Park”, begins advertising Homes for Rent. The Ajax workers were still the preferred tenants, but some of the restrictions seemed to have been lifted.