The history of Bridgestone America dates back to the two separate companies that merged to form the Bridgestone Tire company. The first one is Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, which was founded in August 1900 by Harvey Firestone and was headquartered in Akron, Ohio. The second one is the Bridgestone Tyre Company, Ltd., founded in 1931 by Shojiro Ishibashi in Japan. The first Bridgestone tyre was produced on 9 April 1930, by the Japanese “Tabi” Socks Tyre Division (actually made jika-tabi). One year later on 1 March 1931, the founder, Shojiro Ishibashi, made the “Tabi” Socks Tyre Division independent and established the Bridgestone Tyre Co., Ltd. in the city of Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture. “Bridgestone” was named after the name of the founder, Shojiro Ishibashi (Ishi = Stone, Bashi = Bridge).

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The history of Bridgestone America dates back to the two separate companies that merged to form the Bridgestone Tire company. The first one is Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, which was founded in August 1900 by Harvey Firestone and was headquartered in Akron, Ohio. The second one is the Bridgestone Tyre Company, Ltd., founded in 1931 by Shojiro Ishibashi in Japan. The first Bridgestone tyre was produced on 9 April 1930, by the Japanese “Tabi” Socks Tyre Division (actually made jika-tabi). One year later on 1 March 1931, the founder, Shojiro Ishibashi, made the “Tabi” Socks Tyre Division independent and established the Bridgestone Tyre Co., Ltd. in the city of Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture. “Bridgestone” was named after the name of the founder, Shojiro Ishibashi (Ishi = Stone, Bashi = Bridge).

Foregoing dependence on European and North American technology, the Bridgestone Tyre Co., Ltd. set its eyes on manufacturing tyres based largely on Japanese technology. The fledgling company experienced many difficulties in the areas of technology, production, and sales in the early days. Eventually, improvements were achieved in quality and manufacturing processes which led to the business rapidly expanding in domestic and overseas markets.

Challenges during and after World War II

Wartime regulations were in effect throughout Japan during World War II, and tyres also came under the jurisdiction of these regulations. This resulted in nearly all of the company’s output being used to satisfy military demand. 1945 saw the end of armed conflict, but the company was devastated by the war. The Tokyo headquarters was destroyed during an aerial bombing raid, and all overseas assets were lost. The plants in Kurume and Yokohama escaped unscathed, and production was able to resume immediately after the war ended. Brushing aside the problems caused by a labour union strike that lasted for forty-six days, the foundations of the company were further reinforced after this.

After the war the company started making bicycles, with the Bridgestone Cycle Company being formed in 1949. From 1952 the first complete powered bicycles were produced, with a 26cc engine. In 1958 the first 50cc Bridgestone motorcycles were manufactured, but the company’s main income was from supplying tyres to its rival motorcycle makers such as Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha and it was later decided to cease motorcycle manufacturing.