FIRESTONE Tire and Rubber Co., the company that built all sorts of rubber and pneumatic tires from wagons to modern automobiles and motorbikes, has been around since 1900, named after its founder, Harvey Firestone. Firestone started the company in Akron, Ohio, which, incidentally was also home to its major competitor, Goodyear.
As he was a good friend of automobile maker, Henry Ford, he began supplying the Ford Motor Co. with his rubber and tire products. It found a ready market all over the world, including in the Philippines. A subsidiary, FIRESTONE Tire and Rubber Co. P.I. was put up in post-war Philippines to meet the growing needs of the driving public.
Then, as now, motorbikes were a cheaper transportation alternative, and many Filipinos rode them to commute on our national roads. Accidents were bound to happen even then—as our few roads, streets and avenues were beginning to be crowded and clogged with traffic.
Sixty five years ago, FIRESTONE had this corporate ad published in leading magazines and newspapers, that not only welcomed the New Year but also served as a public service announcement to the riding public.
“Let’s be extra careful this New Year, folks!” the headline proclaimed, this, ironically, coming from a boy in boots, astride a motorbike outfitted with FIRESTONE tires---too young even to secure a driving license!
In 1988, the company was sold to the Japanese Bridgestone Corporation. The company in the Philippines was re-organized nearly 20 years later, returning as Philippine Allied Enterprises Corporation (PAEC), has which now distributes Bridgestone tire products.