THE HISTORY OF FIRESTONE TIRES

You could say Harvey Firestone reinvented the wheel. Because when he started the Firestone Tire Company, he changed the way we drive. Behind everything he did was a commitment to being ahead of the curve — from the invention of non-skid tread to a racing legacy that’s second to none. Today his pioneering spirit can still be found within our company’s strong culture of innovation. Have a look at the timeline below to see just how far we’ve come in our pursuit of excellence.

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1900

The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company is founded in Akron, Ohio. Our first factory opens two years later and employs 12 men.

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1903

Firestone begins producing its own tires. By 1906, sales pass the million-dollar mark and the brand is on its way to becoming a household name.

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1908

We release the first tires to feature non-skid tread designs. All highway tires produced after this product will use tread patterns for traction.

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1911

An Indianapolis branch manager suggest backing a driver in the Indy 500® to help tout Firestone's racing accomplishments. Recognizing a great idea, Harvey Firestone agrees. Soon after, the first Indianapolis 500 is won on a set of Firestone tires.

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1918

During World War I, trucks prove their value in shipping bulk supplies to the front. Back home, Firestone's "Ship By Truck" movement pioneers the trucking industry and forever changes the shipping industry.

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1920

For the first time ever, the Indy 500 is won on a single set of Firestone tires. The same feat isn't repeated until 41 races later...again, on a set of Firestone tires. This was also the year that Firestone perfected "gum-dipping," a method of insulating tire cords against internal heat.

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1922

We produce the industry's first-ever low-pressure balloon tire, vastly improving treadwear (and thus, mileage) in the average tire.

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1925

The Indy 500 is won on Firestone balloon tires. The value of the track as a test site is proven yet again, as speeds exceed 100 mph for the first time in the race's history.

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1930

The first commercially sponsored musical program on radio, The Voice of Firestone, hits the air. The program’s run lasts for thirty-five years and helps to launch the careers of some of America’s best known entertainers.

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1932

Harvey Firestone sets out to improve on the early farming tractor’s steel wheels. In addition to their hard ride and relentless vibration, the wheels often slip and provide little traction. Firestone “Puts the Farm on Rubber” by offering the first practical low-pressure pneumatic tractor tire. The increased economy, traction, and comfort is an obvious win as farmers nationwide convert to rubber-tired wheels.

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1940

War looms in Europe and Asia, threatening natural rubber supplies. In service to our country, we develop synthetic rubber and start making special tires for military vehicles.

The Indy 500 is won using a set of Firestone synthetic rubber tires.

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1943

We become the first company to regularly present its own TV program: Firestone Televues. The first show airs on the same night The Voice of Firestone radio program celebrates its 15th anniversary.

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1948

With 25 consecutive Indianapolis 500 victories, our racing legacy is now firmly established.

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1950

Firestone celebrates 50 years in business. We’ve now grown from a small company to a worldwide organization that employs more than 70,000 people.

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1955

Tires are wildly popular — we’re now producing one million pounds of rubber a day and have become the world’s largest rubber producer.

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1957

We open our 7.7-mile test track, the Texas proving grounds. First order of business: To create a racing tire capable of withstanding speeds over 190 mph. (Spoiler: We succeeded.)

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1962

We join 85 leading companies in the “Plan for Progress,” a movement to end discriminatory hiring practices.

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1965

We introduce the concept of wide, low-profile tires for high-performance cars — something that quickly takes hold around the world.

A new world land speed record of 576.553 miles per hour is set at the Bonneville, Utah, Salt Flats — with a set of Firestone tires.

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1974

The first steel radial with run-flat capability is introduced by Firestone. It’s capable of continuing for more than 50 miles at up to 40 miles per hour after a flat.

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1975

At 75 years old, Firestone has grown into a multi-billion dollar, diversified, international manufacturing and merchandising enterprise. Our operations can be found in 28 countries and six continents.

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1983

Our radial tire revolution has come full circle: All U.S.-made cars now exclusively feature radial tires. By contrast, in 1971 radial tires made up only 2 percent of sales to Detroit automakers.

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1988

Bridgestone and Firestone announce a joint tire-manufacturing venture. The matchup works. One year later, plans are announced to merge into a single corporation.

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1992

As part of the overall reorganization due to the Bridgestone/Firestone merger, we move our corporate headquarters from Akron, Ohio to Nashville, Tennessee.

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1996

After a 17-year hiatus from motorsports (Firestone didn’t compete in any races from 1975 through 1992), we win our first Indy 500 of the modern era.

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1997

Another Indy 500 win brings our trophy count to 50.

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2000

Our 100th anniversary. Firestone is now part of one of the largest tire manufacturers in the world with 8,000 different tires for a variety of vehicles.

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2002

The Destination line of hard-working truck tires launches with Destination M/T. Destination will go on to become the best-selling line of products for the entire company.

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2007

The Firehawk Wide Oval performance tire launches and is used on the Chevrolet SSR Indy pace car.

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2012

Originally marketed in the 1970s, our Fuel Fighter™ tires make a comeback with optimized tire structure and tread design to help reduce both fuel consumption and emissions.

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2016

In honor of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, we design a commemorative racing tire for use in the race itself. The race is won by Alexander Rossi, driving on—you guessed it—Firestone tires.