This year General Tire is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The company, which is now part of the Continental AG group, traces its origins to founders William F O’Neill and his partner Winfred E Fouse who first focused on the truck market. Here they pioneered an oversized pneumatic tire called the General Jumbo. General Tire innovations also made inroads into the automobile market. In the mid-1920s, for example, the company released General Balloon Jumbo tires for cars. These required much lower air pressure and provided a far more comfortable ride than conventional tires.
As the 1930s dawned, General Tire was the largest truck tire manufacturer in the USA. At the same time, the company established a wholly-owned subsidiary in Mexico. In the mid-1930s General Tire concluded an original equipment agreement with International Harvester, one of the largest US manufacturers of commercial vehicles and agricultural machinery. In the 1940s, General Tire generated further innovations in tire manufacturing and stepped up its expansion with the opening of a state-of-the-art tire plant in Waco, Texas.
In the mid-1950s the tire manufacturer continued to grow its portfolio and entered the original equipment market for car tires, initially as a supplier to General Motors. Demand for OE tires continued to grow and General Tire invested in new, advanced tire plants, as well as in the world’s largest tire test track in Uvalde, Texas. The company was later acquired by Continental AG in 1987.