February 16, 1959
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NEW FABRICATIONS of color ano
dized aluminum for automotive and
home appliance industries were devel
oped. The anodizing machine automati
cally dips automobile grilles into various
AMONG THE PRODUCTS introduced
during the year were boat trailers
equipped with air springs. The bellows
designed for air suspension systems are
also in use on many 1959 model automo
NEW EXON and Velon plastic products were
developed. Polymerization, or forming of solids, to
produce Exon vinyl resins takes place in 3,500-gallon
glass-lined reactors. Drying and packaging operations
are shown here. During processing, samples of the
dried product are constantly tested.
FIRESTONE FABRITANKS, made of nylon-reinforced rubber,
are now used as farm equipment. Shown above mounted on a flat bed
truck, a collapsible tank is filled with water to dilute concentrated
insecticide in the sprayer machine at right.
GIANT PRESSES in plants of the Firestone Steel Products
Company turn out parts for rims and wheels for all types of equip
ment. The presses shown here are in the Wyandotte, Mich., plant.
CASH EXPENDITURES for plant and equipment additions and
improvements amounted to $37,766,473 compared with $68,768,620 last
year. Provisions for depreciation amounted to $41,415,782 compared with
$38,965,327 for the previous year.
With a group of prominent bankers and industrialists in Portugal,
we organized a company for the manufacture and.sale of Firestone tires
and related products, A factory is now under construction at Alcochete,
near Lisbon, Portugal. It will go into production late in 1959.
We also acquired a substantial interest in a company in Mexico City,
Mexico, which manufactures tires and other rubber products. Production
facilities at this factory have been expanded to take care of increased
A laboratory for research, engineering and design of guided missiles
and weapons systems was dedicated last year in Monterey, California.
Manufacturing capacities were increased in our plants at Des Moines,
Iowa; Orange, Texas; Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Brentford, England;
Sao Paulo, Brazil; Bombay, India; and Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Additional warehouse facilities were constructed at Lake Charles,
Louisiana; Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; and St. Louis, Missouri.
The Firestone Industrial Products Company was decentralized last
February. Increased diversification and expanded activities led to the
formation of two separate companies to serve more adequately the
needs of our customers. The Noblesville, Indiana, operation retained the
original name, while the Fall River, Massachusetts, organization became
the Firestone Rubber and Latex Products Company.
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CONSUMPTION OF RUBBER by th6 industry in the United States
was less than in the preceding year due to the decreased production of
automotive vehicles. Demand for rubber abroad was the greatest in
history because of the record high production of automotive vehicles
and improved economic conditions.
Our synthetic rubber plants in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Akron,
Ohio, have a total capacity of 230,000 long tons a year. We also have a
substantial interest in a synthetic rubber plant now in operation in
England. This plant, which went into full production in November, 1958,
has a rated capacity of 50,000 long tons a year.
The Firestone rubber plantations in Liberia produced the highest
volume in their history; and the program of replacing older trees with
higher-yielding stock continues on schedule. Approximately 3,000 acres
have now been planted on our plantation at Itubera, Brazil, and planting
has started on our 2,500-acre plantation on the Island of Mindanao in
The latest addition to our long list of synthetic rubbers is Diene, the
basic ingredient of which is butadiene made from petroleum. It is a
product of the same research program that led, several years ago, to
our development of Coral rubber, which is essentially equivalent to
natural rubber. Diene and Coral rubbers are important contributions
toward making our country independent of natural rubber, if this should
become necessary. ^ ^
AMONG THE PRODUCTS which we introduced during the year
were new and improved pneumatic and semi-pneumatic tir^s for pas
senger cars, trucks, tractors, industrial equipment and other vehicles;
new-type rims for mobile homes, trucks, trailers and earth-moving equip'
ment; truck, bus and trailer wheels; boat trailers equipped with air
springs; new fabrications of color anodized aluminum; new Velon and
Exon plastic products; rubberized nylon fuel storage tanks; new synthetic