What would any kind of vehicle be without wheels? Truly one of the greatest prehistoric inventions of all time, the wheel has served so many purposes and functions since mankind discovered it. And since the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company has discovered, dealing in tires and wheeled transportation pays off immensely, this being an industry that the modern cannot and will not live without. From buggies to racing cars, Firestone has proven its worth in its over 100 years of doing good business, establishing a solid reputation for itself as far back as the 1900s as a manufacturer and distributor of high-quality tires.
Founded by the company’s namesake, Harvey Samuel Firestone in 1900 Akron, Ohio, Firestone originally supplied rubber tires to people who had wagons and buggies. When the automobile industry began to boom, Firestone immediately foresaw the great demand the market would produce, and set about pioneering mass production processes for vehicle tires. Firestone, who was friends with automobile giant Henry Ford, used this friendship to become the first supplier of tires for the Ford Motor Company. It was a move that gained Firestone an advantage over rival tire companies such as Goodyear. By the 1920s, Firestone had expanded operations and was making tires in Canada and was the owner of a rubber plantation in Liberia. The company was even tapped by the US Government in World War II and even afterwards to make military products, the biggest defense contract of which was the MGM-5 Corporal missile that Firestone was commissioned to make in 1951.
Firestone was not without its share of bad luck. Its long history has also been a colorful one, riddled by mismanagement issues, problems regarding the Liberian rubber plant and recall of some faulty tires that damaged the Firestone name considerably. The company has since recovered and was bailed out of impending financial doom by Bridgestone, but such is the power of the Firestone name that it continues to be a leading brand in tires worldwide.