The Tire Industry Association (TIA) is inducting six individuals into its Hall of Fame this year including ``historical contributors'' who are deceased, retired or have left the industry more than two decades ago.
Topping the list is Eugene Beck Jr., retired president of Beck Tire International. After graduating from college in 1956, Mr. Beck became more active in his father's filling station and flat-fixing company and found a way to convert aircraft tires for farm and industrial use.
Then called Beck's Tire Shop, the company was founded in 1932 by Mr. Beck's father Eugene Beck Sr. and performed flat repairs, retreading and sold used car and truck tires.
After World War II, Beck's Tire began buying car and truck tires from the U.S. Army Air Force's surplus stock, but used aircraft tires were considered useless-that is, until Eugene Beck Jr. discovered a use for them.
Today, Beck Tire markets used aircraft tires under the Plane Tuff label, and many have been used with John Deere rotary mowers.
Mr. Beck became the president of his father's business in 1966, when the company was incorporated officially as Beck's Tire Service Inc. In 1974, Mr. Beck started a joint venture business in the Netherlands called Joop Arts Tyres b.v. Holland to purchase NATO forces' surplus tires and to export used tires to other European nations.
Some of Mr. Beck's other business ventures include buying Florida Tire Terminal in Avon Park, Fla., and Texas Tire Terminal in Houston and Burleson, Texas. He was a charter member of the El Dorado Tire Corp. and formed a tire recycling company known as Tire Energy Corp. Mr. Beck sold that business in 2002 to Alternative Fuel Service in Odessa, Mo.
An inductee into the Missouri Tire Industry Association Hall of Fame in 2004, Mr. Beck received the Pioneer Award for recycling at the 2000 International Tire & Rubber Association convention for his efforts in converting aircraft tires into farm and industrial applications.
John Sieff, another TIA Hall of Fame inductee, began his 45-year career in the tire industry as general sales manager for S&M Tire, which was founded by his father. He helped form Summit Tire & Battery Corp. in the 1970s-now operating as Sure Tire Co. Inc.-and founded the Mr. Tire Service franchise and affiliate program, now controlled by Universal Cooperatives Inc.
Among the historical contributors to be inducted, Fernley H. Banbury, born in 1881 in Cromwell, England, came to the U.S. in 1904 and earned his electrical engineering degree from Purdue University. Mr. Banbury then joined Saginaw, Mich.-based Werner & Pfleiderer (W&P), where he discovered the company had sold rubber mixers that were not working.
Mr. Banbury went to work solving the problem, but W&P wasn't interested in patenting his newly designed mixer, so he left the company and applied for his own patent. He then associated with Birmingham Iron Foundry in Connecticut, which manufactured and sold his invention.
Born in 1864 in New York City, Theodore E. Smith founded India Rubber Review (now Tire Review) in 1901. He moved the magazine to Akron in 1902 and became heavily involved in local civic affairs, including the Akron Red Cross, Rotary Club, Traveler's Society and other charities. He sold India Rubber Review in 1920 and became president of the Standard Savings Bank in Akron.
TIA also will recognize radial tire inventors Marius Mignol and Pierre Bourbon, both deceased, of Group Michelin.