Akron became an incorporated village in 1836 with a population of 1343 people. In 1843, Dr. Israel E. Carter became Akron’s first resident dentist. By 1887, Akron had a population of over 10,000 people with 12 dentists. These dentists formed a professional organization which was the precursor to today’s Akron Dental Society.
Dr. Israel E. Carter and Dr. John W. Lyder
The Akron Dental Society members were among the first dentists to work directly with local industries. Company dental clinics were formed with Diamond Match Company in 1899; Firestone and BF Goodrich in 1915 and Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in 1918.
These dentists, besides providing dental care to company employees also researched the effects of the factory environment on the employees health.
Dr. Lawrence Graham and Dr. Arthur Heibert organized Children’s Dental Health Week in 1941. This program, which spotlighted children’s dental needs, expanded to a statewide program in 1947 and was adopted nationally by the American Dental Association in 1949.
Fluoridation of Akron’s water supply was introduced in 1968. Members who led the fluoridation battle included Dr. Harold E. Barlow, who reported to council that fluoridation was approved by all local and state authorities, and Dr. James Mercer who became the chairman of Akron citizens for Fluoridation Committee. Fluoridation was also supported by Dr. John D. Morley, Akron City Health Director and Walter C. Kraatz, Ph.D. who researched and supported the cause.
Akron Dental Society members have a long history of providing leadership with in the Akron community and also within our state and national organizations. We are proud to have eight members serve as President of the Ohio Dental Association.
We honor our past presidents:
- Dr. Frank M. Purcell, O.S.D.A., 1936
- Dr. Arthur C. Heibert, O.S.D.A., 1953
- Dr. Dr. Harold E. Barlow, O.S.D.A., 1966
- Dr. James F. Mercer, O.D.A., 1975
- Dr. Irvin N. Kaplan, O.D.A., 1990
- Dr. John H. Gerstemaier, Jr. , O.D.A., 1994
- Dr. Joseph T. Mellion, O.D.A., 2004
- Dr. Burton W. Job, O.D.A., 2009
Our members are dedicated to the profession of dentistry and will continue to serve as leaders in our community to support dentistry on a local, state and national level.