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DISCOVER OUR HERITAGE

Heritage Page - Content Page
DISCOVER OUR HERITAGE
1900-1930   |   1931-1955   |   1956-1987   |   1988-2018

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.

1900
Harvey S. Firestone established the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company in 1900, Ohio, USA.
1903
Firestone begins producing its own tyres in a factory with twelve workers. Right from the start, Harvey Firestone worked relentlessly to improve quality and meet the needs of his customers.
1908
The first tyres to feature non-skid tread designs are launched. All highway tyres manufactured after these were to use tread patterns for traction.
1911
An Indianapolis branch manager suggests backing a driver in the Indy 500 to help tout Firestone’s racing accomplishment, and a partnership between Firestone and Indy racing began. As such, racing served as a proving ground for our tyres and a differentiator for Firestone.
1920
For the first time ever, the Indy 500 is won on a single set of Firestone tyres. The same feat isn't repeated until 41 races later, again on Firestone tyres. This was also the year that Firestone perfected "gum-dipping," a method of insulating tyre cords against internal heat.
1922
Firestone engineers became the first to develop the industry’s low-pressure balloon tyre, vastly improving tread wear and mileage. The Firestone F-shield is introduced as the mark of quality.
1925
The Indy 500 is won on Firestone balloon tyres. 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.
1930
The Voice of Firestone, the first commercially sponsored musical program on radio hits the air. The programme’s run lasts for 35 years and helps to launch the careers of some of America’s best known entertainers.
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 revolutionised the agricultural industry by offering the first practical low-pressure pneumatic tractor tyre that “put the farm on rubber”. With benefits like increased economy, better traction and comfort, it was an obvious win that converted farmers to rubber-tyred wheels.
1936
Harvey Firestone Jnr, together with first Managing Director John Cohill, officially opens the PE factory. Harvey purchased the first 7.06 morgen (approximately six hectare) site on the corner of Kempston and Harrower Roads on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth in 1935, for 750 pounds. The original production capacity in 1936 was 350 car tyres a day, and 150 people worked at the factory. Read more >
1943
Firestone becomes the first company to regularly present its own TV programme: Firestone Televues. The first show airs on the same night that the radio programme The Voice of Firestone celebrates its 15th anniversary.
1948
With 25 consecutive Indianapolis 500 victories, the Firestone racing legacy is now firmly established.
1950
Firestone celebrates 50 years in business. We’ve now grown from a small company to a worldwide organisation that employs more than 70,000 people.
1955
Tyres are wildly popular. We’re now producing one million pounds of rubber a day and have become the world’s largest rubber producer.
1957
Firestone develops a high-speed race tyre to withstand a speed of 304 km p/h for the first running of the International 800 km race at Monza, Italy.
1965
Firestone introduces the concept of wide, low-profile tyres for high-performance cars — something that quickly takes hold around the world.
1971
The First Firestone tyre was produced at the Brits factory using local material.
1974
Firestone introduces the first run-flat steel radial tyre capable of continuing for more than 80 km at up to 64 km p/h after a flat.
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.
1981
At the ITEC Exhibition held in Johannesburg, Firestone displayed the first ever steelcord truck tyre which had rolled off the line at Britz.
1983
Radial tyre revolution has come full circle when all cars in the US feature radial tyres exclusively.
1985
In July 1985, Firestone launched the first ever “ALL ROAD HAZARD” Guarantee on all Firestone steelbelt passenger tyres, a guarantee that covered tyres from road hazard damage and the customer only paid for the tread they’ve used.
1988
The Bridgestone Corporation acquires the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, signaling the transformation into a truly global company.
1992
The two merged businesses move to corporate headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee.
1997
Firestone wins it’s first Indy 500 in the modern era bringing the Firestone Indy trophy count to 50.
2000
Firestone is part of one of the largest tyre manufacturers in the world with 8,000 different tyres for a variety of vehicles.
2002
The Destination M/T tyre is launched and goes on to become the best-selling line of products for the company.
2007
The Firehawk Wide Oval performance tyre launches and is used on the Chevrolet SSR Indy pace car.
2016
In honour of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, Firestone designs a commemorative racing tyre specifically for the race. The race is won by Alexander Rossi driving on Firestone tyres.
2018
Back to our roots, Firestone begins to leverage music as a tool to differentiate and further entrench the brand in the market.