Interesting Historical Facts
Firestone was originally based in Akron, Ohio, also the hometown of its archrival, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. The company initiated operations in 1900 with 12 employees. Together, Firestone and Goodyear were the largest suppliers of automotive tires in North America for over three-quarters of a century. In 1906 Firestone was chosen by Henry Ford for the Model T.
In 1919, Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of Canada was incorporated in Hamilton, Ontario and in 1922, the first Canadian-made tire rolled off the line on September 15. During the '20s, Firestone produced the Oldfield tire, named for racing driver Barney Oldfield.
At one point, the company had a rubber plantation in Liberia that covered more than 4,000 square kilometers (1 million acres).
The company sponsored The Voice of Firestone on the radio beginning on December 1928. The program was transferred to television as an NBC simulcast on 5 September 1949. The last broadcast was in 1963.
In 1928 the company built a factory in Brentford, England, for long an Art Deco landmark on a major route into the city. This closed in 1979.
During World War II the company was called on by the U.S. Government to make artillery shells, aluminum kegs for food transport and other rubberized military products. In the 1940s, Firestone was given a defense contract to produce plastic helmet liners. While outproduced by Westinghouse Electric they still made a fair amount for the M1 Helmet.
In 1951, Firestone was given the defense contract for the MGM-5 Corporal missile. Firestone was given a total of US$6,888,796 for the first 200 Missiles. This missile was known as the "Embryo of the Army" and was a surface-to-surface guided missile which could deliver a high explosive warhead up to 75 nautical miles (139 km). It was later modified to be able to carry a nuclear payload for use in the event of Cold War hostilities in Eastern Europe. This missile was replaced in 1962 by the MGM-29 Sergeant system.
In 1961, Firestone acquired the Dayton Tire division from the Dayco Corporation.