History Through Deaf Eyes – Factory Work

During World War I & II, deaf people found jobs in industries throughout the country. In Arkon, Ohio, the Goodyear and Firestone tire and rubber companies recruited hundreds of deaf workers. By 1920 nearly 1,000 deaf employees were in the Goodyear and Firestone plants. But like women and minority workers, most deaf people lost their jobs at war’s end as servicemen returned home and factories converted to peacetime production. The Wingfoot Clan magazine cover depicting factory buildings with smoke in the foreground with enlarged drawing of a man in the background. The Wingfoot Clan was a publication of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. The May 1918 special issue focusing on deaf workers became a cherished memento of deaf employees. The Wingfoot Clan, Volume 7, No. 43 May 11, 1918 Gallaudet University Archives Deaf people moved to Akron to fill a variety of war time jobs. Goodyear workers, all alumni of the Kentucky School for the Deaf, pose on the factory steps. Kentucky School for the Deaf Deaf female employees display a Goodyear banner. Deaf women from the balloon and gas mask divisions display a Goodyear banner. Gallaudet University Archives. Gift of Robert Werdlg, Jr.