On February 7, 1938, automotive industry pioneer Harvey Samuel Firestone, founder of the major American tire company that bore his name, dies at the age of 69 in Miami Beach, Florida.
By 1910, Firestone’s profits passed $1 million for the first time. The following year, the winner of the inaugural Indianapolis 500 auto race, Ray Harroun, drove a Marmon Wasp equipped with Firestone tires. By 1926, Firestone was manufacturing more than 10 million tires each year, which represented approximately 25 percent of America’s total tire output. Around this time, Firestone established its own rubber plantations in Liberia, Africa, in order to break free of Britain and the Netherlands, who controlled the rubber market through production in their Asian colonies.
Harvey Firestone retired in 1932 and died in 1938. In 1988, the Firestone company was acquired by Japan-based Bridgestone Corporation, a leading global tire manufacturer founded in 1931.