DEMONSTRATION OP FREE ENTERPRISE
Company A Good Will Envoy
When The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company
sold its first tires in the fall of 1900, its sales
horizons did not extend much beyond the Middle
West and the East Coast of the United States.
Today, our products are sold in some 200 coun
tries around the world.
This international growth began shortly after
the company was founded. In 1903 a Firestone
disti'ibutorship was established in Cuba. It was
also in Cuba—in 1957—that Firestone established
one of its newest plants.
During the early years, when the company
was rapidly growing, it devoted expansion energy
to domestic activities. This was to be the rock
like base on which all future growth would rest.
Although we concentrated on American cus
tomers for the first 15 years, we felt more and
more a demand for tires to be used on American
vehicles in other countries, and began to see an
increase in our export business.
Our First Plant Outside United States
At Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1919 Fire
stone started its first tire factory outside the
United States. A year or two earlier, the company
had established overseas sales outlets in London
and Buenos Aires. Soon after this, we began op
erating a rubber-grading and preparation plant
in Singapore to assure highest-quality natural
rubber for Firestone tires and other products.
In the 1920s, direct factory branches were es
tablished in France, India, New Zealand, Spain,
and the Philippines. In 1928, we built our own
factory at Brentford, England, near London, and
two years later, constructed a tire factory in
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
From 1930 until the beginning of World War
II, hundreds of new distributorships and factory
branches were established throughout the world.
Other countries where Firestone manufacturing
is now being carried on are: South Africa, Swit
zerland, Brazil, Sweden, Venezuela, West Ger
many, Mexico, and Portugal.
The Company in Liberia, West Africa
American business can be, in a sense, an in
dustrial ambassador, practicing the philosophy of
the United States by demonstrating benefits of
free enterprise. There is no more striking ex
ample of this than what our company has done
in Liberia, West Africa. When we first began our
plantations there in 1926, Liberia was one of the
least developed countries of the world. Today
the picture is quite different. In a study of our
operations in Liberia issued in 1956, the Na
tional Planning Association wrote;
“Firestone had an impact on Liberia that ex
tends far beyond the boundaries of the planta-
This is the third of five articles written
at the request of The Christian Science
Monitor, by Harvey S. Firestone Jr., chair
man and chief executive officer of the
Reprinted by permission of The Chris
tian Science Monitor.
tions and prevades almost every aspect of Li
berian life. Part of this impact has been the re
sult of a conscious effort by Firestone. The rest
has been the unintentional, though inevitable,
consequence of the presence of the company in
the country, of its attitudes and of the way in
which it has conducted its business.
“In sum, it is not an exaggeration to say that
the coming of Firestone three decades ago was a
decisive event in the modern history of Liberia.
It started an economic and social transformation.
It has given Liberia an international importance
which it otherwise might not have attained.”
The study went on to point out that Firestone
is the largest employer, taxpayer, importer, and
exporter in Liberia, that it has been the country’s
largest trainer of human skills, and that it has
been the pace-setter in labor relations, health
and education standards, productive efficiency,
research, development and enterprise.
Help for Native Planters
Our company gives free seedling rubber trees
and technical assistance to any Liberian who
wishes to establish a rubber farm on his own
land. We work with the Liberians who take ad
vantage of this program by helping them survey
their land and plan a planting program. When
their trees begin to yield rubber, we purchase
their output at the prevailing world price.
If the farmer requests it, we inspect his rub
ber trees and advise him how to improve the
care, cultivation, and tapping of his trees. We
make available to him a complete management
plan, including technical, bookkeeping, and other
necessary systems of operation.
We feel that by establishing Liberians in their
own commercial endeavors and by helping to
create local businesses with modern methods, we
are helping the country to export more rubber
and to impart the spirit of competitive free en
Encouragement of private investment in un
derdeveloped countries is officially part of Unit
ed States foreign policy today. To my mind, it
is also equally important to consider investment
by American business in developed countries.
This Man ‘Sold’
On Safety Shoes
Jesse Liles of Weaving (SYC)
is very much a believer that per
formance is the best testimonial
for safety footwear. Two near
injury experiences while work
ing here have convinced him of
The loom mechanic recalls
that several years ago he was
lucky to escape a serious injury.
In Spinning, a falling steel roller
landed within a hair’s breadth of
his foot. He was wearing open
“That experience set me to
thinking, and I’ve been a safety-
shoe wearer ever since—both
☆ ☆ ☆
Mr. Liles calls attention to the
place where a power mower
couldn't bite — because safety
footwear was on the job.
on and off the job,” he says.
When he cranked his power
mower recently, heavy vibra
tions caused the machine to
crawl backwards, taking a vici
ous slash at his left foot. No
harm done. The impact was
great enough to bend the mower
blade, but failed to cut through
the metal toecap of the shoe.
All of North Carolina’s 100
counties have county health
services. The State Board of
Health governs sanitation in the
public interest, in such fields
as water supplies, public eating
places, and camps.
Steel rims for truck, bus and tractor tires are rolling off
assembly lines at Firestone. The company began manufacture of
such rims in 1909.
At the University of Liberia in Monrovia, the Harvey S. Fire
stone Science Building is an example of American business invest
ment for international understanding. This is the entrance to the
building, made possible largely by a Firestone gift of $50,000.
237 Vehicles Had Defects
Of the 808 cars and trucks processed in safety-check
lanes at the plant this spring, 237 were rejected because
of one or more mechanical or other defects. And of the
number which did not make the grade, 101 were cor
rected, returned to the lanes, then marked OK for the
The 166 out-of-order rear lights constituted the
greatest number of defects on all vehicles processed.
Next in line were tires, with 54 defects; then front
lights, with 53.
Further breakdown of the summary report of ve
hicles safety checked revealed defects occurring in this
Brakes, 30; exhausts, 29; glass, 5; horn, 4. No defects
were found on these items: Rear view mirror, steering,
This is the second year the Firestone company has
made the free inspection available to employees, and to
other motorists in the Gastonia area.
The company operates the program each year in
areas where it has major manufacturing facilities and
sales outlets. The setup is in cooperation with the Inter
industry Highway Safety Committee, which promotes
check lanes in more than 1,000 communities of the 34
states which do not require motor vehicle inspection.
This Student, Handy With Needle,
Sewed The Principal A Summer Suit
19 Minutes To Earn A Profit
After subtracting the cost of raw materials, payroll
needs, taxes and all of the other costs of doing business,
the average American industrial plant has only 19
minutes remaining out of each working day in which
to earn its profit. This fact was established recently
from statistics gathered by the National Association of
When Principal Chris E. Folk
took the platform at the recent
commencement program of
North Carolina Vocational Tex
tile School, he was sporting a
trim summer suit tailored by a
Firestone employee’s wife.
Mrs. Tom Mathis, whose hus-
North Carolina ocean shipping
terminals are at Wilmington and
Morehead City. Navigable
waters include the Cape Fear,
Chowan, Neuse, Pamlico, Pas
quotank, wBtftigo and Roanoke
band works in Carding — and
who herself once worked in
Weaving (cotton) — received a
certificate for completion of the
basic course in tailoring at the
She had done well in class,
earning the distinction of being
one of four in the two tailoring
classes to rate as honor students.
But her talents really glittered
when it came to “lab” work. Stu
dents in the basic course in tail
oring don’t usually advance be
yond a project in trouser-mak-
Mrs. Mathis was putting the
finishing touches to the coats to
men’s suits some weeks before
she finished the course.
Besides the suit which she
tailored for Mr. Folk, she has
turned out three others at the
school—one for her husband, and
one each for J. Warren Smith,
head of North Carolina’s system
of vocational schools; and Esby
Inman, a Gastonia grocer.
In September, Mrs. Mathis
will enroll for the advanced
course in tailoring. She will at
tend classes on the 8:20 to 1 p.m.
schedule, five days a week.
It is easier to do a job right
than to explain why you didn't.
—Martin Van Buren