Bridgestone’s roots date back to the establishment of Bridgestone Tire Co., Ltd. in 1931. Founder Shojiro Ishibashi was already a successful businessman, thanks to the creation of Jika-tabi (socks with rubber soles used as work shoes) and thriving rubber shoe trade. Passenger vehicles were growing more popular, and Ishibashi realized the potential in providing tires for this new mode of transportation, so he took revenue from his family business to start a tire company. Ishibashi used an English translation of his surname, stone bridge, to name his new venture.
Bridgestone focused on manufacturing tires based solely on Japanese technology. At first, the company met many challenges in producing and selling the tires, but it quickly improved product quality and the business rapidly expanded domestically and overseas. Throughout the 40s and 50s, the company’s production levels made Bridgestone Japan’s number one tire maker. In 1967, Bridgestone began selling radial tires for passenger vehicles. Around this same time, the company opened more locations overseas, including a sales headquarters in America. Throughout the 70s, locations opened in Indonesia, Iran, Taiwan and Australia. But the decade also brought a sad end to an era—founder Shojiro Ishibashi died on Sept. 11, 1976.
The 80s cemented the company as a leading global tire manufacturer. In May 1988, Bridgestone acquired The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, which transformed Bridgestone into one of the world's largest tire and rubber companies. The acquisition of Firestone gave Bridgestone a large number of production sites in North America, Central and South America, Europe, and other locations.
In the past two decades, Bridgestone has taken even more steps to expand and diversify, including establishing new headquarters for their European and American operations, returning the Firestone and Bridgestone brands to racing, and acquiring tire retreader Bandag, Inc. As Bridgestone approaches its 80th anniversary, the company remains committed to being a world leader in tire technology, developing the most advanced tires and rubber products and providing world class customer service. The company’s culture and mission remains rooted in the words of founder Shojiro Ishibashi, who said Bridgestone is dedicated to “serving society with superior quality”.