PAGE TWO Tiir«$ton« NEWS MAY 5, 1952 SAFETY DIRECTOR L. B. McABEE, right, is shown receiving from Forest Shuford, Commissioner of Labor in North Carolina, our plant’s fifth consecutive safety plaque for lowering accident frequency. To eai-n the award industrial plants must show a specified decrease in accident frequency as compared with their record for the preceeding year. In our case the decrease was 45 percent to the record low of .76 lost time injuries per million man hours worked. Sharing honors with Mr. McAbee is George Brooks, representing the Belmont Throwing Company which also qualified for the award. The presentation above climaxed the annual Gastonia Chamber of Commerce Safety Banquet Api’il 17, at the Masonic Temple. Sixty- six Gaston County industrial plants were recognized for their work in accident prevention at this event. THE NEW office addition is rapidly taking shape. Measuring 32 by 70 feet, it will boost main office space to 5,595 square feet, adding 50 per cent to the present 3,755 square footage. It is scheduled for completion by June 1. Main Office Gets Needed Expansion A brick and masonry one-story addition is going up at the east end of the main office which will increase floor space in the office by 75 per cent. The new wing, measuring 32 by 70 feet, will be modern in all respects with year- round conditioned air, fluorescent lighting, and fire protective sprink lers. The addition will provide need ed expansion space for the Pay Roll Department, as well as new quarters entirely for the Plant Manager, and the Insurance, Yarn Sales, Purchase, and Job Analysis Departments. FIRESTONE NEWS Vol. 1, No. 1 — May 5, 1952 Published at Gastonia, North Carolina By Firestone Textiles A Division of The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company Department of Industrial Relations R. H. HOOD, Editor Department Reporters Carding—Leila Rape, Lurlene King, Jessie Westmoreland. Spinning—Lois Bolding, Helen Bolick, Janet Hartgrove, Evie Thomas, Grace Christopher, Bertha Ellis, Mary Turner, Ray Cloninger, Mae Hyleman, Fannie Bruce. Spooling—Nell Bolick, Rosalie Burger, Ruth Easier. Twisting—Carolyn Anderson, Nevie Dalton, Mable Hanna, Hazel Clark, Lassie Crawford, Corrie Johnson, Dean Haun, Ellease Austin, Ruth Waldrop. Weaving—Mary Johnson, Lucille Davis, Clara Wilson, Irene Burroughs, Betty Martin. Cloth Room—Margie Waldrop. Cable Respooling—Theodore Thomas. Quality Control—Dealva Jacobs, Irene Burroughs, Catherine Isham. W^inding—Dorcas Atkinson, Ann Stephenson, Mayzelle Lewis. Shop—Cramer Little. Warehouse—Anne King. Main Office—Mozelle Brockman. Superintendent’s Office—Sue Van Dyke. Personnel Office—Christine Clark. More About Plant Progress In Gastonia (Continued from page 1) in chronological order, as follows: The Gastonia plant was acquired by The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company on April 2, 1935 from the Manville-Jenckes Company. Mr. W. A. Karl, now President of Fire stone Textiles, was at that time in charge of textile purchases at Akron. Mr. Harold Mercer, present plant manager, assumed the po sition of comptroller and assistant treasurer on the day the plant was acquired. The first name of the company was “Firestone Cotton Mills, Inc”. After completing the rearrange ment of machinery to improve pro duct flow, production was obtained in June, 1935. During the period ending October 31, 1935, production totaled 3,159,368 pounds. This is about three week’s production to day. Clock employees enrolled as of October 31, 1935, numbered 1361. Average pay at this time was $13 weekly. . . . not an unusual figure to earn in one day in 1952! In July, 1936, weekly production exceeded 500,000 pounds for the first time. This level of production was reached with 1850 employees. It is significant that with today’s more modern methods and ma chinery, 2300 employees pi-oduce at the rate of 1,350,000 pounds per week. THE YEAR 1937 was devoted to production refinements and on October 31, 1937, production aver aged 520,000 pounds weekly with 1625 employees enrolled. Mr. Nel son Kessell, plant superintendent since the first year of operation, assisted by Mr. F. B. Galligan who later joined the organization, guided these and all subsequent plant modifications. This year marked the beginning of the Christmas parties for Fire stone children and was also the first year for the All-Sports Banquet. Production of rayon fabric was introduced in 1938 on an experi mental basis. In August of that year Mr. Mercer succeeded H. M. McKelvie as Vice-President and General Manager of the Company. During 1940 the first village house was sold to an employee, un der an approval authorizing the sale of a limited number of com pany-owned houses. A total of 83 houses were sold before the pro gram was terminated because of the war threat. Firestone was one of the first companies to sell their houses to employees. Since 1940 many other textile concerns have adopted this policy. In 1941 production of rayon tire cord was undertaken on a large scale basis, and during that year Mr. W. A. Karl became President of Firestone Cotton Mills, Inc. ^ ^ ^ ALSO IN that year the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company award ed the Firestone Cotton Mills, Inc., a safety plague for having estab lished the world’s record for em ployee safety in the textile indus try. This record was set between July 1, 1938, and February 14, 1941, dui4ng which time not one lost-time injury occurred in 9,217,- 145 man-hours of work. The vacation program for clock employees started in 1942. In April of that year employees having suf ficient service could look forward, for the first time, to a vacation with pay. ... an innovation in the industry. During 1942 Firestone Cotton Mills, Inc., and its people began to feel the full impart of the war. Rubber, .being a critical war ma terial, was soon on the restricted list for civilian use. Thus tire pro duction for such use was cut, re sulting in decreased need for tire cord. To prevent curtailment in operations it was necessary to en ter the sales yarn business, and in that year more than 5,000,000 pounds of yarn were sold. Most of this yarn found its way into tent duck for the United States Army. The Gastonia plant also shared in the production of tent duck by weaving 500,000 pounds of it in 1942. During 1943 yai'n sales decreased somewhat but production of ai’my duck expanded 1,000,000 pounds, signifying a change to full-time war production. THE WAR YEARS were char acterized by efforts aimed at the stimulation of production through i improved employee efficiency, low er rate of absenteeism, decreased labor turnover and training courses for new employees. Typical of labor saving machinery introduced at that time was the long draft roving for the card room. To enlighten employees and local citizenry alike, a mammouth dis play of war products manufactur ed by the parent company (con taining in most cases fabric from the Gastonia plant) was present ed at the Gastonia Armory in the fall of 1944. On February 26, 1944, the late Honorable Robert P. Patterson, Undersecretary of War, notified the Firestone Cotton Mills, Inc., of its selection for the Army Navy “E” Award as a result of outstanding production for the war effort. The award ceremony took place before a throng of employees and townspeople on the afternoon of March 27, 1944. For the occasion a platform was built from the Main Office to the street. Second Avenue. Brigadier General H. F. Safford, USA, made the presenta tion for the War Department; Harold Mercer, plant manager, received it on ibehalf of all the em ployees. Award pins were present ed to the employees by Captain A. T. Clay, USN, and these were re ceived by Ben Davis, employee representative. The late Russell A. Firestone was present, represent ing the Board of Directors, The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company. With the introduction of rayon at Firestone’s Gastonia plant, it soon became evident that a more inclusive corporate name was need ed. Consequently in 1944, the name was changed to Firestone Textiles, Incorporated. Finally in September of 1950 that name was changed, with the dissolvement of the cor poration, and the present name adopted: Firestone Textiles, oper ating as a division of the Fire stone Tire & Rubber Company. * * * * * AFTER the Japanese Surrender and as materials became increas ingly available, a program was launched to improve efficiency and working conditions. Considerable improvement was undertaken in the plant with an eye to quality, now that pressure for war produc tion was eased. Some of the more important installations which have been completed to date are: 1. Complete fluorescent lighting throughout the plant. 2. Mechanical materials handling equipment. 3. Overhead cleaning in the spin ning department. 4. Controlled atmospheric condi tion in the rayon weave room- 5. Conveyor systems for handl ing fabric rolls. 6. New boilers. 7. Loom improvements. 8. New slashers. 9. Complete repainting of mill in terior. 10. Tray conveyor system. In 1946 the John W. Thomas award was presented for the first time to the outstanding Boy Scout of Gaston County. This annua] award (established by the late Mr John W. Thomas, Honorary Chair man of the Board of Directors, t’hj Firestone Tire & Rubber Coni’ pany) has encouraged scouting tremendously in this area, and is probably the most sought-after individual award offered to scouts in the county. Two important personnel chang es were made in 1948: Nelsoi Kessell was promoted to genera superintendent and F. B. Galligan was transferred from the Benn- etsville, S. C., plant, as plant super^ intendent. DURING 1949 the sale of the roj maining village houses was resunflj ed and practically all of these wer^ sold by the end of 1950. Also this year marked the beginning of th annual Firestone Hobby Show, ai event that has grown in size an popularity each year to the extenj that now it receives favorablj notice from Gastonia people gen' erally. Late in 1949 it was decided tha*. a program of selling some of oui surplus cotton yarns was advisal^^i and since then substantial quan) titles of high grade carded yarn have been sold to the textile trad In similar fashion the sale of larg' quantities of our square woveii fabric has been carried out. The “forties”, especially the wai years, revealed an increasing iu‘ terest in home gardens, or Victory Gardens as they were called during the war. Firestone’s contributioil in gardening earned it the highesi National Institute Award for seV eral consecutive years betweei* 1943 and 1948. This program ha been discontinued because of ' lack of suitable land for th gardens. PERHAPS the brightest staf' surely the most recent, in our cd' lection of milestones and memori®^ is the Fiftieth Anniversary of founding of The Firestone Tire Rubber Company. The very meHj tion of the year 1950 still bring' up comment on the Ringli»^| Brothers Circus' special annivfifs^. ry show for Firestone employees Realizing the need for increase' insurance benefits for hospital au' surgical care. Firestone ha' made every effort to see that eU’ ployees have as much coverage ^ possible in this connection. By ‘ series of changes in our group surance, we now have one of most generous policies of its kii’^ anywhere. Concurrent with the pansion and improvement of surance has been the developmeJ^ of a retirement plan for employe^®' .... And the end is not yet! story of progress is a continuiJ^^- story—a living drama that before our eyes constantly. thing to look for, work for and proud of. . . . at FIRESTONE-

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