Source: Chains of Opportunity: The University of Akron and the Emergence of the Polymer Age, 1909-2007, by Mark D. Bowles

1839 — The process of vulcanizing rubber is established

1909 — Chemistry professor Charles Knight offers the first college course in the world focusing on rubber at Buchtel College (which would become The University of Akron in 1913). For more than 20 years, it would be the only college course of its kind

1922 — Hermann Staudinger introduces the concept of the "macromolecule," a molecule containing a very large number of atoms such as a synthetic polymer

1930 — Wallace Carothers creates what would later become known as Neoprene, a synthetic rubber, made during an experiment with acetylene. He also discovered how to produce nylon.

1935 — Nylon, one of the first synthetic polymers, was produced by Carothers

1946 — Day-Glo was created

1946 — Herman F. Mark, the "father of polymer education," founds the nation’s first polymer research institute at Brooklyn Polytechnic

1947 — "Cold rubber" commercialized

1956 — Both the Institute of Rubber Research and one of the first Ph.D. programs in polymer chemistry established at The University of Akron

1959 — Five students become the first to receive their Ph.D. in polymer chemistry at The University of Akron. One of the five, Ralph Milkovich, discovered "living" polymers, or polymer chains that can propagate and grow, three years earlier

1972 — G. Stafford Whitby dies. Whitby, a longtime professor at The University of Akron and director of rubber research, is credited with helping to create "cold rubber"

1973 — The United States produced 15.5 million cubic meters of polymers; it produced the same amount of steel

1976 — For the first time, the U.S. consumes more plastics than metals on a per-volume basis

1984 — The Edison Polymer Innovation Corp. (EPIC), formed from a collaboration between Caste Western Reserve University and The University of Akron, officially announced by then-Gov. Richard F. Celeste

1991 — The Polymer Science Building opens at The University of Akron. It is renamed the Goodyear Polymer Center in 1998.

1992 — Hudson High School and Stow-Munroe Falls High School link their computers to The University of Akron’s polymer laboratory

1993 — The Akron Polymer Training Center established

2000 — State of Ohio ceases to fund EPIC

2001 — The state creates the non-profit Ohio Polymer Enterprise Development Inc.

2001 — The Ohio Polymer Strategy Council formed

2002 — By the end of this year, OPED is responsible for 30 polymer start-up companies

2003 — Ohio Department of Development terminates support for OPED

2006 — The University of Akron celebrates its 50th anniversary of starting the Ph.D. program for polymer chemistry