Over the course of a century, Alliance has evolved from a single product to a global leader in multiple industries. Today Alliance represents the benchmark in adapting and inventing simple, practical, and reliable solutions for every day. The remarkable story of Alliance’s first century offers a vision of corporate ingenuity, integrity, and excellence as our Alliance Team continues the legacy of Mr. Spencer and his creative marketing in promoting the many different uses of rubber bands in many different markets. The company’s rich American heritage is built on valuing our associates as our greatest asset. Join us in following the inspiring journey of Alliance’s products.
The 1920s arrived. WWI was over, the economy was doing well. It was a glorious time for art deco, flappers, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mouse, and Duke Ellington. The Roaring Twenties brought the radio, automobile, “talking” movies, prohibitions, prosperity….and of course, Alliance Rubber Company.
In 1923, Mr. Spencer obtained a few inner tubes, cut them by hand in his garage, and thus, Alliance Rubber Company’s very first product was born. These first rubber bands were produced from small-diameter, high-pressure factory reject inner tubes that Mr. Spencer obtained. He continued to produce these black rubber bands, in this manner, for the next 14 years.
The largest volume of business for rubber bands at that time was from the Newspaper Circulation Industry. In those days, newspapers were blocked and thrown in the general direction of the porch. After seeing the Akron Beacon Journal blowing across lawns, he persuaded them and the Tulsa World to try wrapping them with a band. According to Mr. Spencer: “The newspaper circulators created an envious volume of business that no band manufacturer ever dreamed could be developed.”
Mr. Spencer built a solid foundation for Alliance Rubber Company by pushing the new and unrealized potential for rubber bands in industries. Not only were bands more efficient but they had a superior price point. He would go on to promote rubber bands to the agricultural industry as well as retail shops and industrial factories. Catering to these markets, he established rubber bands as a practical and versatile replacement for twine (which was the dominant bundling tool of the day). His persistence paid off and, in the end, he effectively changed how businesses bundled. He is credited for inventing the 3C through 9C bands for celery, and cauliflower bands, just to name a few.
As the Roaring Twenties progressed, powerful new dictators in Europe were making the political situation uneasy. While some Americans were earning fortunes, many others were barely getting by. When the 1920s ended, the Great Depression loomed with hard times for many, and Alliance entered a new decade under Mr. Spencer’s imaginative direction.
To be continued…