1900: Harvey S. Firestone Launches His Tire Empire

August 3, 1900

The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company was incorporated in Akron, Ohio. Harvey S, Firestone (1868-1938), with only a dozen employees to help him, formally launched a state-of-the-art business for making more durable and efficient tires for horse-drawn wagons and buggies. Within just a few years, the company would shift its focus to producing high-quality tires instead for the newer and ever-proliferating automobiles across the United States.

Firestone was very much aware of the significant flaws of traditional tires used during that era, and consequently his company’s biggest accomplishment in its early years involved making and popularizing pneumatic rubber tires. Among other things, these tires provided more shock absorption for a smoother ride than did their wooden and solid rubber counterparts.

In 1906, a major milestone for the company took place when Firestone negotiated a far-reaching deal with his good friend Henry Ford (1863-1947) to become the Ford Motor Company’s supplier of tires. By its 26th anniversary, the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company had mushroomed into a global giant and was producing more than 10 million tires per year. This company’s innovations over the years have also included developing treads for tires so that they could more effectively grip the road; and creating suspension devices for tires that made it easier and safer for motor vehicles to maneuver around street corners.

(The above photo features the outside of one of the first stores of the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company.)

Photo Credit: Public Domain

For more information on the founding of the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, please check out https://automotivehistory.org/august-3-1900-firestone-tire-rubber-is-founded/ and https://clevelandmagazine.com/in-the-cle/articles/cleveland-inventions-firestone’s-rubber-tire-innovations-made-cars-safer

Additional information on the company’s history is available at https://www.firestonetire.com/about-firestone/heritage/#

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