Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
4 U.S. Patents
Harvey Firestone, innovative businessman and founder of Firestone Tire and Rubber Company was a pioneer in the rubber industry who did much to advance scientific research in Florida. He acted as a tireless booster for the state, purchasing a winter estate on the east coast where he hosted companywide retreats and promoted the area to all who visited. Most notably, Firestone collaborated with Thomas Edison and Henry Ford as co-founder of the Edison Botanic Research Corporation. Together, their groundbreaking search for a domestic source of natural rubber led to botanical and chemical advancements, helping to pass the Plant Patent Act of 1930 through Congress. Firestone’s contributions to this endeavor were critical as he utilized his international business and political connections to advance the project while contributing crucial scientific knowledge regarding the chemistry of rubber. Today, the Edison Botanic Research Corporation Laboratory, located at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers, has been designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark. Firestone also utilized his substantial political clout to encourage the passage of bills which furthered rubber research in Florida, benefiting sites like Chapman Field in Coral Gables. Firestone tires later became synonymous with automotive racing, which took root in Florida beginning in the 1930s, earning the area national renown. Firestone’s contributions to the automotive industry are plentiful and his impact on the state of Florida may be equally important. Today, his legacy lives on as his former east coast home is now the site of the celebrated Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami. In 2006 he was elected into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. He holds 4 U.S. patents.