April 5, 1923 – Firestone begins balloon tire production

Today in 1923, Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio, began balloon-tire production. The company had previously experimented with large-section, thin-walled tires with small bead diameters for special purposes, but none had been put on the commercial market. Firestone had become the country’s largest producer of tires when it received the contract to supply Henry Ford’s Model T’s with tires. The company remained on top of the tire industry, challenged for supremacy only by Goodyear. Balloon tires provided better handling and a smoother ride for car drivers. A balloon tire has an inner tube inside the tire which is inflated with air. With Firestone’s innovation also came the era of the flat tire.

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