The American Automobile Industry in World War Two
An American Auto Industry Heritage Tribute
By David D Jackson

Overview      The U.S. Auto Industry at the Normandy Invasion, June 6, 1944    The U.S. Auto Industry and the B-29 Bomber   U.S. Auto Industry Army-Navy "E" Award Winners   The Complete listing of All Army-Navy "E" Award Winners   Sherman Tanks of the American Auto Industry   Tank Destroyers of the American Auto Industry    M26 Pershing Tanks of the American Auto Industry   Serial Numbers for WWII Tanks built by the American Auto Industry

    Automobile Manufacturers:  American Bantam Car Company   Checker   Chrysler   Crosley   Ford   General Motors   Graham-Paige   Hudson
   Nash-Kelvinator   Packard      Studebaker    Willys-Overland

General Motors Divisions
(Undergoing development) Aeroproducts   Brown-Lipe-Chapin   Buick   Cadillac   Chevrolet   Cleveland Diesel   Delco Appliance   Delco Products   Delco Radio   Delco-Remy   Detroit Diesel   Detroit Transmission   Electro-Motive   Fisher Body   Frigidaire   GM Proving Grounds   GM of Canada   GMC   GMI   Guide Lamp   Harrison Radiator   Hyatt Bearings   Inland   Moraine Products   New Departure   Oldsmobile   Packard Electric   Pontiac   Saginaw Malleable Iron   Saginaw Steering Gear   Southern California Division   Rochester Products   United Motors Service

Truck and Implement Manufacturers:   American LaFrance   Autocar  Diamond T   Caterpillar   Clark Equipment Company   Cleveland Tractor Company   Federal Motor Truck   International Harvester    Mack Truck
   Marmon-Herrington Company   Massey-Harris   Pacific Car and Foundry  Reo Motor Car Company   R.G. LeTourneau   Seagrave Fire Apparatus   Ward LaFrance Truck Corporation   White Motor Company

Automotive Tire
   B.F. Goodrich    Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
 Updates and Additions  


"Producing for War Preparing for Peace"
Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in World War Two
Akron, OH
1900-Present (Since 1988 as part of Bridgestone)
Headquarters are now in Nashville, TN

This page updated 2-15-2018.

The Firestone Rubber and Latex plant in Fall River, MA won the Army-Navy "E" Award three times.
The Firestone Park plants in Akron, OH won the Army-Navy "E" Award three times.
Firestone Textiles, a subsidiary of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Bennettsville, SC won the Army-Navy "E" Award once.
Firestone Textiles, a subsidiary of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Gastonia, NC won the Army-Navy "E" Award three times.  The original award was presented to the Firestone workers in a ceremony in front of the plant on March 27, 1944.

Firestone Tire and Rubber's World War Two Products:  As can be seen below, Firestone was prolific and varied in the products made for the US Armed Forces during WWII.

Firestone Tire and Rubber's World War Two Product Statistics:  7,762 barrage balloons, 600,000 bullet proof fuel and oil cells, 24,500 drop tanks, 2,250 C-46 wing sets (3,198 C-46s built), 1,277,000 aircraft oxygen cylinders, 82,283 tank and half track tracks, 2,320,455 bogie wheels, 2,224,000,000 .50 caliber machine gun links, 7,393,000 gas masks, 1,882,000 M1926 life belts, 429,000 Mae West life vests, 126,500 rafts, 33,500 other types of flotation gear, 20,231 40mm Bofors gun carriages for the US Army, 10,434 40mm Bofors gun mounts for the US Navy, 765 CG-4A gliders, 1,550 M5 and M5A1 tank turrets, 3,100 M5 and M5A1 tank tracks

Firestone Tire and Rubber's World War Two Product Statistics:

1944 - 8,877,000 combat tires
1945 -
10,716,000 combat tires

More Firestone Tire and Rubber's World War Two Products: Artillery shells, aluminum kegs for food transport, 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft gun mounts and carriages, plastic helmet liners, aircraft rocket launcher tubes, barrage balloons, aircraft drop tanks, Bakelite stocks for Browning Automatic Rifles, tires, rubber tires for tank road wheels, Mae West life vests, self-sealing aircraft fuel and oil tanks, bomb casings, M1926 flotation belts, gas masks, .50 machine gun links, aircraft oxygen tanks, rocket motor boxes, M5 tank turrets, rockets, C-46 wing panels, aircraft, tires, wheels and brakes, pilot seats, tank tracks, submarine parts, pontoons, life rafts, crash pads for tanks, and Duplex Drive kits for M4 Sherman tanks, aircraft pressure-sealing bushings, aircraft tire bead loosening tool, army parkas, batteries, tire beadlocks, tire bead wedge rings, brake linings, bullet resistant tubes, camouflage bands, channel rubber, clothing bags, delousing bags, engine mounts, fan belts, flotation bladders, friction tape, gaskets, gun recoil mechanism seals, landing boats, masking tape, molded rubber parts, motorcycle tires and tubes, oxygen nurse bags, oxygen masks, plastic lenses for gas and oxygen masks, plastic screening, pontoons for bridges, raincoats, rescue boats, rubber caster wheels, rubber band tracks for half-tracks, rubber hose, rubber tape, spark plugs, synthetic foamed latex, tire and tube repair material, torsion bearings, track link bushings, 60mm mortar base, aircraft rivet cement, aircraft parachute seat cushions, air-spring landing gear struts, glider wheels, mooring anchors and buoys, parachute rafts, pneumatic lifting bags, propeller anti-icers, repair kits for floatation gear, eye guards for gun sights, marine transmission parts, mine seals, plane tending barges, seadome contact lighting buoys,

Firestone had nine plants in Akron during WWII.  Products coming out those plants were tires, aircraft wings, industrial products, steel products, 40mm AA gun mounts and carriages, barrage balloons, Butaprene N, molds and machinery. and rubber reclaim. 

Fuel cells were made at fourteen plants located in Akron, OH, Los Angeles, CA, Dallas, TX, New Castle, IN, Memphis, TN, Pasadena, CA, Compton Junior College, CA, Santa Ana, CA, Ferndale, WA, Coshocton, OH, Zanesville, OH, Patterson, NJ, Bristol, VA and Hamilton, ONT.

Cotton tire cord for military tires was made at the Gastonia, NC.  In 1942 the plant also manufactured 500,000 pounds of duck material for military tents.

The Atlanta, GA plant also built aircraft wings, while Memphis also made raincoats, and Indianapolis assembled tank tracks.  The rubber for the tank tracks were produced at the Noblesville, IN plant.

A complete listing of Firestone's US and international plants during WWII is included in "Producing for War Preparing for Peace."   See the link at the top or bottom of this page.

Firestone's signature war product, 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun mounts and carriages.  The actual guns were produced by another company.

Barrage balloons were also built by Firestone in Akron.

This is a WWI observation balloon on display at the National Museum of the USAF.  To date the author has not been able locate a WWII barrage balloon.  This WWI balloon is similar to the WWII balloons.  Author's photo added 12-8-2017.

Firestone, Aircraft Fuel Cells, and the B-29 "Enola Gay"

Firestone Tire and Rubber built a plethora of products in support of the effort during WWII.  One of the many products were fuel cells for military aircraft.  Nine Firestone plants produced aircraft fuel cells during the war.  Coshocton, OH built fuel cells for the B-24, B-29 and P-38.

The B-29 "Enola Gay" was the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb, and hastened the end of WWII.  Author's photo added 2-20-2017.

The Glenn Martin Aircraft Company at its Omaha, NE plant built the B-29 "Enola Gay" along with the rest of the Silverplate nuclear bombers.  Part number 606 is a Firestone built 1,387.5 gallon main wing fuel tank.  Part number 607 is a  Firestone Coshocton, OH built 1,436.5 gallon auxiliary wing fuel tank.  There were two of each in the B-29.   Photo added 2-20-2017.

 Photo added 2-20-2017.

Inside the wings on the "Enola Gay" are four Firestone built fuel cells.  They are located between the outboard engines and the fuselage.   Author's photo added 2-20-2017.

The first Firestone fuel cell was for the North American P-51A.  Author's photo added 3-16-2017.

Firestone Tire and Rubber produced over 600,000 fuel cells for the P-51, B-25, P-39, P-38, P-47, SB2C, B-24, B-17, and B-29.  The Firestone plant making the fuel cells included Akron, OH, Los Angeles, CA, Dallas, TX, New Castle, IN, Memphis, TN, Pasadena, CA, Compton Junior College, CA, Santa Ana, CA, Ferndale, WA, Coshocton, OH, Zanesville, OH, Patterson, NJ, Bristol, VA and Hamilton, ONT.

The Coshocton, OH Firestone plant also built 450 gallon auxiliary fuel tanks for the B-24 Liberator bomber.  The plant employed 1,200 persons during WWII.   Author's photo added 2-20-2017.

Firestone Coshocton also built the auxiliary fuel tanks for the P-38.   Author's photo added 2-20-2017.

This is a fuel cell in a B-17 wing under restoration at the Museum of the United States Air Force.  Author's photo added 3-16-2017.

Firestone also built fuel cells for the Convair B-36. Author's photo added 3-16-2017.

Firestone in its Atlanta plant built wings for the PB4Y Navy patrol bomber.  Author's photo added 3-16-2017.

Author's photo added 3-16-2017.

The USS Cod is on display at the Cleveland, OH waterfront during the summer months.  While there are many references to Firestone built 40mm Bofors mounts and carriages for use by ground forces, the USS Cod has an example of a Firestone Bofors mount that the US Navy utilized.  Author's photo.

Author's photo.

The Firestone built 40mm mount on the USS Cod is 45 miles from where it was built in Akron.  Author's photo.

A Firestone built 40mm Bofors mount and carriage can be seen at the Indiana Military Museum in Vincennes, IN.  Author's photo.

  Author's photo.

Of interest in the photo are the three tubes.  These were the initial rocket launchers used by the US Army Air Forces during WWII.  This one was built by Firestone, and is on display at the MAPS air museum at the Akron-Canton Airport.  Author's photo.

In period photos of WWII, the three tubes are normally seen mounted under the wings of P-47 Thunderbolts.  Later the tubes were replaced by zero launch rails, as the technology progressed.  Author's photo.

 Author's photo.

Firestone built drop tanks for US fighters.   Author's photo from the MAPS Museum.

 These are 110 gallon tanks.  Author's photo.

Firestone Steel Products was located in Akron, OH; and in peacetime, built tire rims.   Author's photo.

The Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) brought portable automatic fire down to the squad level during WWII.  Originally the stocks were made of black walnut like the handgrip.  Shortages of black walnut lead Firestone to make them out of a combination of Bakelite, Resinox, and shredded fabric.  They were then sandblasted to reduce glare.   Author's photo.

 The stocks were made at the Firestone Rubber and Latex plant in Fall River, MA.  The plant won the Army-Navy "E" award three times during WWII.  Author's photo.

On March 21, 1942 the US Army approved the Firestone produced plastic stock for use in the BAR.  This particular weapon is on display at Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach, NC.  Author's photo.

Author's photo.

This M24 Chaffee is one of several tanks on display at the First Division Museum in Wheaton, IL.  Author's photo.

Like many of the tanks of WWII, this one has Firestone built bogie wheels.  Author's photo.

Firestone Tire and Rubber plants in Akron, OH and Wyandotte, MI produced 2,320,455 tank bogie wheels like this one for various American tanks during WWII.  Author's photo.

Firestone Tire and Rubber in Los Angeles, CA also produced 1,550 turrets used M5 and M5A1 Stuart tank built by the Southern California Division of General Motors in South Gate, CA.  It also provided the 3,100 tank tracks required.  This Southern California Division built M5 with a Firestone built turret is ironically located at an automotive salvage yard in Akron, OH.  M5 serial number 2295 came off the assembly line in September 1942.  Author's photo added 2-15-2018.

This M5A1 on display at the Virginia Military Museum in Newport News, VA is the tenth M5A1 built by the Southern California Division.  It is serial number 2632 and was built in December 1942.  It also has a Firestone built turret.  Author's photo added 2-15-2018.

A Firestone produced turret on display at the South Gate General Motors Tank Arsenal in 1942.  Photo added 3-16-2017.

Firestone tank tracks.  Photo added 3-16-2017.

Halftracks were one of the many recipients of heavy duty military truck tires produced by Firestone in Memphis, TN.  Firestone also bonded rubber pads to steel halftrack and tracks.  Author's photo.

Bomb casings were another product of Firestone.  Author's photo.

Bomb casings ready for shipment at Firestone.

  Firestone Tire and Rubber Company produced many oxygen tanks for aircraft.  These can be seen inside the B-29 "Command Decision" at the National Museum of the US Air Force.  Author's photo.

2,250 Curtiss C-46 Commandos had Firestone built wings.  Author's photo.

Plastic helmet liners were molded by Firestone.  Author's photo.

Helmet liners went into the M1 steel helmet.  The helmets, sometimes called "steel pots," and their Firestone liners were still used through the end of the Vietnam War.  Author's photo.

In a display case at the Champaign Aviation Museum in Urbana, OH is this Mae West life preserver made by the Firestone Rubber and Latex Products Company.  Firestone made 429,000 of these life preservers.  Author's photo added 4-19-2017.

According to US Army nomenclature, this is a Preserver, Pneumatic Life Vest.  In the vernacular it was known as a Mae West.  Date of manufacture was June 30, 1945.   Author's photo added 4-19-2017. 

 This Firestone Mae West is on display at the Military Honor Museum in South Bend, IN.  Author's photo added 12-8-2017.

Firestone continued to make life preservers after WWII.  This one was built on December 18, 1948.  Author's photo added 12-8-2017.

On display at the 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson History Museum in Colorado Springs, CO is one of  1,882,000 M1926 life belts that Firestone produced during WWII.  Author's photo added 10-4-2017. 

The original box was even on display at the museum.  Author's photo added 10-4-2017. 

Firestone made  2,224,000,000 .50 caliber machine gun links.  The .50 machine gun was used by all services during WWII.  They were used on bombers and fighters, tanks, trucks, ships, and as stand-alone weapons.  Author's photo.

Firestone built base plates for the 60mm mortar.  Author's photo added 12-8-2017.

Author's photo added 12-8-2017.

Post WWII Military Products

Firestone built 1,100 Corporal Missiles after World War Two.  This one is one display at the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, VA.   Author's photo.

 Author's photo.

This section added 2-7-2017.

"Producing for War, Preparing for Peace"
Below are the seven pages from this 34 page booklet pertaining to the products Firestone made during WWII.  See the link at the bottom of this page to view the full 34 pages.

The full 34 page version of "Producing for War Preparing for Peace"



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