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       Who We Are  >   Overview  >   1915-1936
     Who We Are – 1915-1936

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 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 and 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 & Rubber Company 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 and the Dual 90 – which extended the General Tire & Rubber Company 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. 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 1930, its 15th year, 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. This resulted in a distinctive international business for the General Tire & Rubber Company.

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