Select Firestone Miscellany



Here are some Firestone stories and accounts over the years:

Nicholas Hans Feuerstein


According to the parish records of the Berg Evangelical Church, Nicholas was a carpenter, farmer and citizen of Thal in Alsace.  It was said that when their oldest child became subject to conscription into the French army, Nicholas and his wife abandoned their ten acre farm in Alsace and departed for Holland.  In Rotterdam, the couple and their nine children boarded the Peggy and they arrived in Philadelphia on September 24, 1753.  The family qualified for entry on the following day. 

Until 1760 Nicholas indentured himself and his sons as farm laborers in Lancaster county in order to pay for his passage to America.  Then, at about the same time his wife died, he was able to acquire a 300 acre tract of land in Paradise township in York county.  He married again, a widow Catherine Hacken.  Nicholas died in early 1768.



Firestones in the 1850 US Census

The following were the number of Firestones listed by state in the US census of  1850.

State
Number
Percent
Pennsylvania
   50
   38
Ohio
   31
   23
Indiana
   13
   10
New York
   10
    8
Elsewhere
   29
   21
Total
  133       
  100      

Firestones were to be found in particular in the following townships:

State
Township
County
Pennsylvania        
Bullskin
Fayette

Swatana
Lebanon

Upper Turkeyfoot
Somerset

Monaghan
York
Ohio
Knox/Fairfield
Columbiana       

Harvey Firestone of Firestone tire fame came from the Firestones in Columbiana county, Ohio.



When Harvey Met Henry

The moment Henry Ford walked into the Columbus Buggy Works and asked for Harvey Firestone, it could be said that the course of the 20th century changed.  Henry Ford recalled: 

“The first time I met Harvey Firestone he was an agent for the Columbus Buggy Works in Detroit.  That was in 1895.  At that time I was building my first automobile.  It was about complete, and I was using bicycle tires.  The car weighed 500 pounds which was much too heavy for the light tires.  I went to the buggy works to see about obtaining some solid rubber tires as a substitute.  Firestone told me he had just received some new tires that were a great deal softer on the buggy in the rear.  They were pneumatic tires and I had him order me a set.” 

At that time Harvey Firestone and Henry Ford were both relatively unknown in the business world. 

Harvey Firestone, a fourth-generation farmer from Columbiana, Ohio, founded his own tire company in Akron, Ohio five years later in 1900.  In the beginning, the company only sold tires made by other manufacturers.  Firestone soon realized he could make a better product.  So in 1903 the company manufactured its first set of pneumatic rubber tires. 

In 1906 Firestone contacted Henry Ford about supplying him with his new tires.  Henry Ford remarked: 

"He was the first tire manufacturer to seek an order from us. He got the order and he has furnished us with about half of our tires since." 

That order was the basis of a long-lasting business and personal relationship.  William Clay Ford Jr. of the Ford dynasty has the son of Henry Ford's grandson William and Harvey's granddaughter Martha.



Firestone, Colorado

The town was named in 1908 for Jacob Firestone who gave his name to the Firestone Coal and Land Company which had established a presence in the town.  However, Firestone himself never made it to Firestone. 

Jacob Firestone was related to Harvey Firestone of Firestone Tires – but only by marriage and distantly at that.  He was the founder of a general store and bank in Spencer, Ohio and had been one of the owners of the Firestone Coal and Land Co. 

The first Firestone family member to visit Firestone, Colorado had in fact to wait until 2011.  Firestone mayor Paul Sorenson found Reid Firestone in Spencer, Ohio during a search for descendents while researching the town's 100-year anniversary.  The September 26 visit by Reid Firestone and his wife Terri was full of history as they visited with town officials and took a tour.



Aaron Feuerstein and the Fire at Malden Mills

The fire that broke out at Malden Mills in the winter of 1995 was the largest fire Massachusetts had seen for a century.  A boiler had exploded in one of the mill buildings.  The explosion was so powerful that it ruptured gas mains.  The fire quickly engulfed the buildings and employees fled into the streets.  Fortunately, no one was killed.  But the town was devastated.  Malden Mills was one of the few large employers in a town that was already in desperate straits. 

Feuerstein decided not only to use the $300 million insurance money to rebuild the plant, but to also pay the salaries of all the now-unemployed workers while it was being rebuilt.  Feuerstein spent millions keeping all 3,000 employees on the payroll with full benefits for six months.  By going against common CEO business practices, especially at a time when most companies were downsizing and moving overseas, he achieved a small degree of fame. 

Sadly, the millions he spent to keep his pledges cost him, nine years later, control of the company.





Return to Top of Page
Return to Firestone Main Page