Harvey S. Firestone

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Harvey S. Firestone
Firestone c. 1910
Harvey Samuel Firestone

(1868-12-20)December 20, 1868
DiedFebruary 7, 1938(1938-02-07) (aged 69)
OccupationFounder of Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
(m. 1895)
Children7, incl. Harvey Jr. and Leonard
Firestone in 1931

Harvey Samuel Firestone Sr. (December 20, 1868 – February 7, 1938) was an American businessman, and the founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, one of the first global makers of automobile tires.[1]

Family background[edit]

Firestone was born on the Columbiana, Ohio farm built by his paternal grandfather. He was the second of Benjamin and Catherine (née Flickinger) Firestone's three sons; Benjamin also had a son and a daughter by his first wife. In 1983 the original farm was disassembled and moved to Greenfield Village, a 90-acre (360,000 m2) historical site in Michigan founded by Henry Ford, and is now part of a larger outdoor museum.

Firestone's paternal great-great-great-grandfather, Hans Nicholas Feuerstein, immigrated from Berg, Bas-Rhin, France,[citation needed] in 1753, and settled in Pennsylvania.[citation needed] Three of Nicholas' sons – including Harvey's great-great-grandfather, Johan Nicholas – changed their surname to "Firestone", the English translation of the family's German name "Feuerstein".[citation needed]

On November 20, 1895, Firestone married Idabelle Smith.[citation needed] They eventually had seven children. Notable great-grandchildren include: Andrew Firestone, Nick Firestone, and William Clay Ford Jr. (the son of Henry Ford's grandson and Harvey and Idabelle's granddaughter Martha).

Education and career[edit]

Firestone (right) with Henry Ford and Thomas Edison in February 1929

After graduating from Columbiana High School, Firestone worked for the Columbus Buggy Company in Columbus, Ohio before starting his own company in 1890, making rubber tires for carriages. In 1900 he soon saw the huge potential for marketing tires for automobiles and then founded the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, a pioneer in the mass production of tires. In 1926 he published a book, Men and Rubber: The Story of Business, which was written in collaboration with Samuel Crowther.[2]


In 1938, Firestone died of coronary thrombosis.[1]

The Vagabonds[edit]

Firestone, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison were generally considered the three leaders in American industry at the time, and often worked and vacationed together,[3] calling themselves the Vagabonds,[4] along with naturalist John Burroughs and, sometimes, President Herbert Hoover.


The main library of Princeton University is named Firestone Library in his honor. It is among the largest university libraries in the world. On August 3, 1950, The Harvey S. Firestone Memorial, a large sculpture ensemble dedicated to Firestone, created by sculptors James Earle Fraser and Donald De Lue was dedicated. It is located at the old Firestone Headquarters, 1200 Firestone Parkway in Akron, Ohio. In 1974, Firestone was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. Firestone High School in Akron, Ohio, is named in his honor. There is a Harvey S. Firestone Park in Columbiana, Ohio. The Links at Firestone Farms, a golf course in Columbiana, sits on the site of the former family homestead. The town of Harbel in Liberia, home to Firestone's rubber farm, the largest in the world, is named after Firestone and his wife Idabelle.

He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2013.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Harvey Firestone is Dead in Florida. Rubber Manufacturer Dies in Sleep at His Miami Beach Estate. He Was 69". New York Times. February 8, 1938. Harvey S. Firestone, a farm boy who built one of the largest rubber businesses in the world, died of a coronary thrombosis as he slept early today in the great mansion of Harbel Villa, an ocean-front estate he acquired in 1924. He was 69 years old.
  2. ^ Men and Rubber: The Story of Business. By Harvey Samuel Firestone, in collaboration with Samuel Crowther. London: William Heinemann & Co., printed in U.S.A., 1926.
  3. ^ Zumbrun, Francis Champ. "Famous Travelers - Edison, Ford and Firestone". Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
  4. ^ Guinn, Jeff (2019). The Vagabonds. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. p. 4. ISBN 9781501159305.
  5. ^ Harvey Firestone at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America

Further reading[edit]

  • Firestone, Harvey Samuel, and Samuel Crowther. Men and rubber: The story of business (Doubleday, Page, 1926) online
  • Knoll, Arthur J. "Harvey S. Firestone's Liberian Investment (1922-1932)." Liberian Studies Journal 14.1 (1989): 13-33. online
  • Newton, James Draper. Uncommon Friends: Life with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel, and Charles Lindbergh (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1987).
  • Skrabec Jr, Quentin R. Rubber: An American Industrial History (McFarland, 2013).

External links[edit]