MEET Our FOUNDer
It was the fall of 1949 when Frank W. Steere, Jr., a chemical engineer working for the BF Goodrich Company, decided to take the leap of faith and start his own business around a new, vinyl plastisol material he was introduced to in the rubber industry.
With less than $1,000 to his name, Frank quit his job and setup shop in the basement of his Akron, OH home. His father, who took the above photo, told Frank that not having any money was his greatest asset. He told Frank that one day through hard work, this picture will be framed in your company’s lobby. Almost seventy years later, this picture is proudly displayed in our lobby today.
Frank purchased used ovens and began coating various applications in the vinyl material down in his basement. With a shortage of stainless steel in the market, Frank quickly noticed a need to coat industrial bolts and decided to call on the Industrial Rayon Corporation out of Cleveland. It was here that Frank made the first sale for STEERE. His very first product, vinyl coated 3/8″ hex bolts for Industrial Rayon, received positive feedback, and they instantly placed future purchase orders. As a result, Frank was forced to move his operation out of the basement and into rented space in downtown Akron.
Frank soon connected with Ben Stiller of Quikey Manufacturing Co and began making dip molded, vinyl coin purses known as “Quikoins” - his first big success. In the 1950s, STEERE made over 50 million coin purses for Quikey and soon expanded by selling vinyl grips and sleeves to a variety of other industries.
In the 1960s, safety began to play a larger role in new car designs, and STEERE began producing dip molded seat belt sleeves for the automotive market. In 1962, STEERE built its headquarters in Tallmadge, Ohio, where we still reside today.
In order to meet temperature and thickness requirements, STEERE began molding the seat belt sleeves out of polyethylene in the 1970s. It was during this decade that STEERE began its expertise around the blow molding process. During the 1980s, STEERE took its blow molding capabilities under the hood of the car and started making blow molded air induction applications. In the 1990s, STEERE advanced its design capabilities and launched the patented DUAL PROCESS ™ overmolding technology that enabled us to join dissimilar materials and parts.
During the first decade of the 2000s, STEERE began working on complex, high pressure assemblies and built a stand alone machining business. Today, STEERE is a third-generation family-owned business. We are especially proud of our heritage and the core values that have made us successful.