Thursday 5th April 1923
Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio, began balloon-tire production. Rather than using solid rubber or a simple pneumatic tire, the slightly elliptical balloon tire fitted an inner tube inside the rugged outer tire and then inflated it; balloon tires provided better handling and a smoother ride than earlier tires. Firestone also bragged of greater longevity and more economical driving. 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. Before this time, drivers had problems with their automobiles, but none had yet enjoyed the pleasure of standing by the roadside watching their hissing tire deflate along with their hopes of arriving on time.