Harvey Firestone – December 20, 1868
- Born in Columbiana, Ohio
- After high school, Harvey worked for a buggy company
- He later started his own business selling rubber carriage tires
- When the automobile industry started taking off, Harvey saw huge potential in making automobile tires
- His company, Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, was extremely successful
- He was good friends with Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, and their families even vacationed together
- Harvey’s granddaughter married Henry Ford’s grandson
- Firestone tires still account for a very high percentage of tires on the road today
Cutting out the center of a plate isn’t very practical, but we did use black plates and silverware – even writing Harvey’s name and birth/death dates where a ‘real’ tire would have the word Firestone. We also collected a few tires and cars from around the house to complete the scene.
I brought some different types of rubber to the party, to show the boys the importance of vulcanization. I started off with pink school erasers, and asked what they thought would happen if the tires on our car were made of this material. We agreed that it wouldn’t be very practical, and that we’d have to replace them very very frequently. J also commented, though, that if your car was traveling behind an oversized pencil, writing on the road, it would be very useful.
Harvey’s company vulcanized the rubber, and we didn’t get into too much detail about this process. But, the kids could definitely see the difference between the rubber used in erasers, the rubber used in car tires, and the rubber used to make a bowling ball!