February 15, 1957
CORAL RUBBER, a new synthetic developed by Firestone re
search, is shown here coming off a wash mill. It has characteristics
similar to that of natural rubber and has proved so successful in truck
tires tested by the Army Ordnance Department that it may eliminate
the need for costly stockpiling of natural rubber.
Firestone continues to be one of the Armed Forces’ leading
suppliers of recoilless rifles and ammunition, antiaircraft guns and mounts,
artillery shells, guided missiles and ground handling equipment, tank
tracks and bogie rollers, radomes, fuel cells, rubber boats and floats, stain
less steel parts for tanks and jet engines, tires and other products for air
craft, tanks and military vehicles. At Monterey, California, we have
established a new laboratory for guided missile systems research and
testing. The Defense Research Division carries on its studies of a wide
range of classified defense projects. We continue to operate for the Govern
ment the arsenal at Ravenna, Ohio, and to manage the Ordnance works at
Meadville, Pennsylvania, and Sandusky, Ohio, where an atomic reactor is
being installed, which will be serviced by Firestone.
Ever since our Company was founded, independent tire dealers have
been the principal outlets for our products. Our dealer franchise is one of
the most complete and most profitable in the industry and it has enabled
thousands of dealers to build permanent and successful businesses. Our
Firestone stores continue to maintain their high standards of service to
our dealers and the public.
* H: ❖
LAST YEAR, Congress enacted a law which provides for the con
struction of a 41,000-mile nationwide system of interstate highways, which
will cost more than $50,000,000,000, during the next 13 years, of which ap
proximately $37,500,000,000 is to be furnished by the Federal Government
and about $13,000,000,000 by the States. The Federal Government’s por
tion is to be raised by excise taxes on automotive and petroleum products.
The excise tax on tires was increased from 5 cents a pound to 8 cents,
effective July 1, 1956, an increase of 60 per cent. This highway-building
program will expand greatly the market for construction and road-building
tires, and as it is completed, will result in increased highway travel and
much greater demand for replacement tires.
For years our Company has called nationwide attention to the
necessity for building better and safer highways. We pointed out re
peatedly that until an adequate highway system was provided, the loss of
life and property would mount every year.
This program will help to reduce accidents and provide a highway
system which will more adequately serve the needs of our country.
We extend our appreciation to the men and women of Firestone in
our plants, offices, stores, warehouses, branches and plantations through
out the world for the part which they played in helping to make the past
year the most successful in our history. Their skill, experience and loyalty
are among the greatest assets of our organization.
AMONG THE products introduced during the fiscal year was
the newly designed Supreme tire. Lee R. Jackson, vice chairman, dis
plays the safety tire and a cross section.
AIRIDE SPRINGS by Firestone for passenger cars and for
industrial vibration dampening were also introduced during the year.
Firestone began construction of a new plant for the mass production
of air springs in late 1956 in Noblesville, Indiana.
OUR COMPANY maintained its position as the world’s largest
producer of rubber. More than 1,200 acres of rubber trees were planted
on our new plantation in Brazil. Shown is part of the rolling area
where the plantation is located.
STEEL RIMS for trucks and tractors are placed on this con
veyor at the steel products plant at Wyandotte, Michigan, at the start
of a process which cleans, then coats them with a corrosion-resistant
synthetic resin paint.