February 15, 1958
AMONG THE PRODUCTS introduced
during the year were new and improved tires
of advanced design for passenger cars,
trucks, tractors, aircraft and off-the-high-
way vehicles. LEFT—the world’s largest
regular production tire for off-the-highway
use. CENTER—The “De Luxe Super Cham
pion” was introduced as the new low-priced
nylon cord replacement tire with high speed
characteristics. RIGHT — The new “Guide
Grip” front tractor tire featuring a thick
rubber filler strip is shown by C. R. Miller.
COLOR ANODIZED aluminum fabrication for the automotive
and home appliance industries was begun. A giant, heavy duty
anodizing machine which can permanently dye aluminum any color
was put into production at the Akron steel products plant. L. J.
Campbell (left) and D. E. Morford are shown in front of the machine.
A NEW-TYPE LIGHTWEIGHT truck rim, “The Challenger,”
was introduced during 1957 by the company. It is produced by the
most modern manufacturing processes in American industry at the
steel products plant in Wyandotte, Mich.
rubbers, polyurethane foam, Velon plastics, Exon basic resins for plastics,
nylon resin, metal products, textiles and the new Airide air springs, which
are being featured by many car manufacturers on their 1958 models.
Additional warehouse facilities were constructed at Los Angeles,
Omaha and Portland to provide faster and more efficient distribution of
our products in these sales districts.
* * H!
OUR COMPANY maintained its position as the world's largest pro
ducer of rubber.
Our synthetic rubber plants in Lake Charles, La., and Akron, Ohio,
now have a total capacity of 230,000 long tons a year, compared with
129,000 long tons when they were purchased from the Government in
1955. We also have a substantial interest in a synthetic rubber plant now
being built in England.
Early this year, a pilot plant for the production of Coral rubber will
begin operation in Akron. This new rubber, developed by Firestone re
search, has characteristics so nearly identical to natural rubber that it
may eliminate the need for costly stockpiling of natural rubber and make
the United States, in case of an emergency, completely independent of
foreign sources of rubber.
A site was purchased for a new 2,500-acre rubber plantation on the
island of Mindanao in the Philippines and an additional 1,000 acres were
planted in rubber in Brazil. The program of replacing our older rubber
trees in Liberia with higher-yielding trees continued on schedule.
The world consumption of rubber continued to expand during the
year and recorded a new high. Synthetic rubber gained a greater propor
tion of the market as more manufacturers, particularly abroad, recognized
the advantages of its stability in price and the improved quality gained
by using more of it in their products. Natural rubber prices were more
stable than last year, due principally to the increasing trend to synthetic
rubber. ^ ^ ^
AMONG THE PRODUCTS which we introduced during the year were
new and improved tires of advanced design for passenger cars, trucks, trac
tors, aircraft and off-the-highway vehicles; brake lining for new industrial
applications; rims for earth mover and road grader tubeless tires and
power-adjusted tractor wheels; agricultural wheels; color anodized alumi
num fabrications for the automotive and home appliance industries; new
resins for the outdoor protection of metals; low pressure polyethylene
monofilament for outdoor and casual furniture; several new synthetic
rubber polymers; and new types of Airide air springs for automotive
vehicles and industrial machinery.
To enable us to test tires under conditions of road and load much
more severe than would be encountered in normal service, we completed
the world’s largest tire proving ground, including an oval track more than
seven and one-half miles long, at Fort Stockton, Tex., as an addition to
our already extensive tire testing facilities. Furthermore, Firestone tireS
again were safety-proved on the speedway for greater protection on the
highway. They were on the winning cars in all national championship
race car events and in most stock car and sports car races. For the thirty-
fourth consecutive time, they were on the winning car in the 500-mil®
Indianapolis sweepstakes, for the twenty-ninth consecutive time on the
car which won the Pikes Peak Climb and on the winning car in the
international 500-mile race at Monza, Italy.
Our company continues to be a leading supplier of products for the
armed forces, including recoilless rifles, artillery shells, guided missile^
and missile launchers, tank tracks and bogie rollers, radomes, fuel cell^>
rubber boats and floats, jet engine components and tires for aircraft an^
vehicles. In addition to our continued production of the Corporal surface-
to-surface missile for the Army, we have been assisting in the development
of vital components for the Air Force Matador, also a surface-to-surfa^®