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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History


The B.F. GOODRICH CORPORATE RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT CENTER was opened in 1948 at 9921 Brecksville Rd., in BRECKSVILLE. The Clevelander boasted that the new facility gave the Cleveland area "science's latest, most complete industrial workshop in the Middle West," employing 225 scientists and technicians. After stiff opposition from some residents to B.F Goodrich's plan to locate a $1.5 million research center in the suburb, Brecksville voters passed a referendum in 1944 that enabled the company to begin construction of the laboratory. The center's 6 original buildings, dedicated on 15 June 1948, were built on a 261-acre site that allowed further expansion, and between 1948-60 the company added another million dollars' worth of buildings. Employment at the center had grown to 398 in 1960 and to 433 in 1993. Among the projects carried out at the center under the direction of Dr. FRANK SCHOENFELD† were tests of the durability of various materials using hurricane and rainmaking equipment; development of a chamber to simulate conditions in space in order to test space helmets and other equipment for space travel; and the development of new products and manufacturing processes in the rubber and plastic fields. The Brecksville Ctr. was expanded again in 1977 and 1990; in the mid-1990s the company was investing $75 million annually in research. Besides serving as the company's research and development center, the complex was also the headquarters for B.F. Goodrich Specialty Chemicals, renamed B.F. Goodrich Performance Materials in 1998. When B.F. Goodrich sold Performance Materials on February 28, 2001, to a private investor group led by AEA Investors, Inc., the Brecksville facility became the headquarters for Noveon, Inc., the new company resulting from the sale, with a street address of 9911 Brecksville Rd. On June 1, 2001, the original B.F. Goodrich headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, changed its name to Goodrich to represent its focus on the aerospace industry and away from the plastic, rubber, and tire industries. Noveon continued to serve the specialty chemicals market from its base in Brecksville, with approximately 3000 employees worldwide.

Last Modified: 03 Aug 2003 07:49:05 PM

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