The finest art, the most difficult
to learn, is the art of living.
He who knows others is clever,
but he who knows himself is en
GASTONIA, N. C., JANUARY 10, 1955
Equipment Unveiled Here
Open house at Firestone Textiles on December 29 and 30 gave newspaper editors and
trade paper writers opportunity to inspect the new Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. operation
in Gastonia, which makes tire cord of rayon and nylon, and which will result in Firestone’s
turning out stronger, longer-wearing, and safer tires for trucks and automobiles.
The new electronic tire cord safety tension and gum-dipping equipment, now in opera
tion here, is housed in a new unit at the rear of the main plant. The equipment gum dips
the tire cord, stretches it, and tempers it in one continuous electrically controlled operation.
Specially designed and built by Firestone, it is the first cord-treating factory of its kind
in the world.
At open house, December 29 andO ———“—
^0, when the new equipment was
turned over for inspection to more
than a dozen newspaper editors
and trade paper writers, General
Manager Harold Mercer presided
over the program for visitors, in
the absence of William A. Karl,
President of Firestone Textiles.
* * *
The representatives of the press
attended a news conference at
^0 a. m., and saw a news film giv-
highlights of the new plastic
operation here. Then the visit-
toured the building, first to
the twisting and weaving depart
ments, then to the special process-
They were entertained at a
luncheon in the Elks Club at noon.
Unfavorable weather cancelled
^ost of the inbound flights at
Charlotte airport on December 29.
addition to Mr. Karl, several
other important visitors were lost
to the bad weather.
However, on the following day,
clearing skies allowed the Firestone
Party to fly from Akron. Members
the party went on another in
spection tour, similar to the one
taken the day before by other writ-
and editors and several offi-
^^als of the plant here.
After allowing the press to have
ii^first inspection, the Firestone
Company showed off its new gum-
dipping operation to the general
public over 150 television stations
on December 30.
A camera crew visited the plant
several weeks ago and made pic
tures for the television newsreel.
With stories and pictures appear
ing at the same time in newspapers
across the country, the Firestone
Company obtained blanket cover
age of one of its most significant
Only a portion of the nylon wov
en in the plant here is gum dipped
at present. Mr. Mercer has an
nounced that Firestone expects to
begin treating the rayon cord at
a later date.
Firestone officials say that the
gum-dipping plant will enable the
Company to capture more than its
present 20 per cent of the tire
Explaining the operations here,
President Lee R. Jackson of the
Firestone Company says:
“The new tire cord, either of
rayon or nylon, which we are now
producing in our textile plant at
Gastonia, and using in all of our
tire factories, enables us to make
tires that are safer, stronger and
will run longer.” The new process
is considered by tire engineers to
be the most important advancement
in tire-cord engineering since the
introduction of the original gum-
dipping process by our company
many years ago.
* * *
“The great improvement this new
process cord has on tire perform
ance was proved in the 500-mile
Indianapolis Race last May when
the nation’s top drivers used it
and gave these tires major credit
for the safety and new speed
records established. This new
equipment now enables us to mass
produce this cord for use in our
complete line of rayon and nylon
The gum-dipping process, im
pregnating the filaments of the
tire cord with chemicals and liquid
rubber, giving firm adhesion be
tween the plies and the tread, was
introduced as an exclusive process
by Firestone in 1920 when only
cotton cords were used. The intro
duction of the synthetic fiber
cords, rayon and nylon presented
a new problem for the Company's
engineers because the cords ex
panded or “grew” when they be
came hot from fast driving. They
developed a way to take the stretch
(Continued on Page 2)
is a model of the new electronically controlled safety tension gum-dipping unit at Firestone
which represents the most important advancement in tire cord engineering. A factory in itself,
and Gastonia contains a chemical mixing section, a giant gas-fired, multiple heat-treating towers,
ton after bank of huge, individually powered tension rolls. Specially designed and built by Fires-
is the first cord-treating factory of its kind in the world.
Charles Tanner checks the ply twisting operation, an early step
in the preparation of tire fabric for the new gum-dipping and tension
ing unit. Huge “beams” usually containing 160 ends of nylon or
rayon filaments, are received from suppliers and twisted auto
matically into yarns, or cords. The cords are then woven on textile
looms into sheets of fabric.
Operator Delbert Heafka checks the fabric as it passes through
the gum-dipping section of the unit, before going through the high-
temperature heat-treating towers and series of tension rolls.
In another scene in the gum-dipping operation, Harold Hovis
inspects the fabric as it enters the gum-dipping unit, later to be
passed through high-temperature heat-treating towers and several
scries of tension rolls.