On August 3rd, 1900, the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company was founded in Akron, Ohio. In the initial days, they introduced the solid rubber sidewire tires as one of the first Firestone products. On December 27th, Harvey S. Firestone Jr. was lifted into the air to pull the engine switch that put the first Firestone factory in operation
Firestone began manufacturing its own tires for the first time in 1903, and by late summer of the next year, they’d developed the first mechanically-fastened, straight-sided pneumatic automobile tire.
At 17, Shojiro Ishibashi took over his family clothing business in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture. While heading up that business, he specialized in tabi (Japanese traditional socks), reformed the apprentice system, implemented a standardized pricing system, and created Jika-tabi (socks with rubber soles used as work shoes), developing a rubber shoe business with overseas production. But Shojiro's s dream was to contribute to the nation of Japan above and beyond the work of his family business. He believed in the future of motorized transportation in Japan, and he was adamant about producing tires domestically.
Firestone delivered 2,000 sets of tires to the Ford Motor Company. It was the largest single order for tires places by the auto industry to date, and would start a business partnership that would last for decades.
In 1910, profits for The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company exceeded $1 million for the first time. By June 1910, Firestone’s new factory in Akron, Ohio opened. A few years later, Ohio became the hub of the tire industry, leading manufacturing of automobile castings and rubber inner tubes. It also had more rubber workers than any other state, with 63,637 people working at various tire companies. Firestone’s line of plants, which extended for more than a mile, was linked together by more than six miles of interplant railroad and a 70-ton locomotive. The company now had its own rail line to move raw materials and finished products.
On May 30, 1911, Ray Harroun drove his Firestone-equipped Marmon Wasp to victory at the inaugural Indianapolis 500® mile race.
Ex-President William Howard Taft arrived in Akron and visited with Harvey S. Firestone. It was one of the first indicators that Firestone was becoming an important figure in national affairs.
Factory production of the industry’s first low-pressure balloon tire began on April 5, 1922. This breakthrough was made possible by incorporating the gum-dipping process invented in early 1920, a method of insulating tire cords against internal heat. Balloon tires offered the average motorist extraordinary mileage for the time.
Firestone began initiating the one-stop service store program, eventually called the Firestone Tire & Service Center.
For Bridgestone, the 60s was an era of overseas expansion that included the establishment of Bridgestone Tire Company of America in 1967 to serve as the company's U.S. sales headquarters. On the product front, 1967 saw the sale of its first passenger-vehicle radial tire, the RD-10.