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General UniversityHistoryGeneral Tire History1915-1937
General Tire History 1915-1937

William F. O'Neil, "W.O." and his partner, Winfred E. Fouse, founded the General Tire and Rubber Company on Sept. 29, 1915. General Tire began as an outgrowth of the Western Tire & Rubber Company, organized by the two young Akron businessmen. "W.O." and Fouse were convinced that, with a quality product, there was a place for them in the big league tire manufacturing.


At the time General Tire entered the tire business there were more than 300 companies making tires. "W.O." decided to pass up the original equipment market and to produce a premium replacement tire, the oversized General Jumbo, an industry original, and pneumatic truck tires which cost more and were worth more than those of the competition.


The establishment of a nationwide team of fiercely loyal, aggressive competent independent dealers enabled General Tire to meet the challenge of making it the unquestioned premium tire producer in the field.


In the mid-1920s, General Tire's engineers invented the low-pressure General Balloon Jumbos. Requiring only 12 pounds of air pressure, the Balloon Jumbos revolutionized all tire manufacturing concepts. It was the first of many "new idea" tires; the blowout-proof Dual Balloon, the Dual 8 and Dual 10, the Squeegee, the Dual 90 - which extended the company's position through the years as the industry's premium tire producer.


Two significant developments by General Tire's engineer - the origination of rubber flaps for truck tires in 1928 and the creation in 1931 of a complete line of low pressure truck tire balloons - positioned the company firmly as a major truck tire manufacturer.


An important boost for the company's growing truck tire business came in 1934 when an agreement placed General Tire on International Harvester's approved original equipment list. And by 1937, General Tire was on the OE list of all major truck manufacturers, providing an entrée by General Tire dealers for replacement and retreading sales.


In its 15th year, 1930, the company added an international page to its ledger, incorporating in Mexico a wholly owned subsidiary, The General Tire & Rubber Company, S.A., of Mexico. Out of this came the company's distinctive international business.

 The 1931 acquisition of a 50-percent interest in a tire fabric manufacturing operation, Aldora Mills, Barnesville, GA., and the purchase by 1937 of full ownership, signaled the expansion of General Tire's domestic tire investment, necessitated by an almost incredible upsurge in vehicle registration across the nation.

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