If Smithers reports it, we trust it.
This is the reputation that Smithers quickly gained after its founding within a three-bay garage in Akron, Ohio in 1925. Smithers initially began as a publisher of scientific reports for the rubber industry after Vernon L. Smithers identified that manufacturers had a need for accurate, unbiased data regarding their finished products. Smithers published its first tire report in April 1925 and published 17 reports in the first year of operation. The company also tested 75 tires in its first year.
The success of those initial reports and tests allowed for the expansion of service offerings while building a strong foundation that could withstand the ups and downs of the economy. The Great Depression riddled the United States economy in 1929 just as Smithers was cementing its place in the industry. While most Akron rubber companies had begun to cut back production during these troubling times, they continued to employ the services of Smithers, realizing that they needed tests and reports from an independent third-party even if the economy was in severe recession. Smithers was one of the few companies that experienced growth during the Great Depression, expanding its service offerings to include hose testing and battery testing.
Emerging from the struggles of the 1930s ready for continued growth, Smithers would again have to prove its mettle in the 1940s. During World War II, the US government implemented rations on rubber products, sending almost every tire toward the war effort. This meant that companies like Smithers were not able to receive needed samples to conduct tests. Without any samples to test or report on, Vernon L. Smithers realized that he had to act swiftly to keep his company afloat. Vernon traveled to Washington D.C. to plead his case to the government, explaining the importance of testing products even in times where rationing was taking place. He explained that rubber companies had come to rely on the accurate data supplied by Smithers. The government agreed with Vernon on the importance of testing and ensured that his company would receive the samples they required for testing, once again emerging from a difficult period as strong as ever.