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The very first Bridgestone tire was produced on 9 April 1930, by the Japanese "Tabi" Socks Tyre Division (actually made jika-tabi). One year later on 1 March 1931, the founder, Shojiro Ishibashi, made the "Tabi" Socks Tyre Division independent and established the Bridgestone Tire Co., Ltd. in the city of Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture. "Bridgestone" was named after the name of the founder, Shojiro Ishibashi (Ishi = Stone, Bashi = Bridge)
In 1951, Bridgestone was the first company in Japan to begin selling rayon cord tires, and a five-year project to modernize production facilities was started. This year also saw another Bridgestone building opened in Kyōbashi, Tokyo, which contained the Bridgestone Museum. Sales surpassed ten billion yen in 1953, placing Bridgestone at the top of the tire industry in Japan, and celebrations were held to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the company's foundation in Kurume.
The sale of nylon tires was started in 1959, and work forged ahead with the construction of the new Tokyo plant, which was opened in 1960, in order to cope with the fast-expanding market for motorization.
Bridgestone started to invest in motorsport in the 1980s by developing race tires for feeder series like Formula 2, Formula 3, Formula Ford, Formula Opel Lotus and karting.
In order to increase the Firestone subsidiary's brand awareness, Bridgestone Firestone NAH Ltd, re-entered the Firestone brand into CART IndyCar open-wheel racing in 1995 to challenge Goodyear. The tires proved better and Goodyear retired for 2000. Since then, Firestone has been the single tire provider for the renamed and disappeared Champ Car, the IndyCar Series and its feeder series Firestone Indy Lights.
Bridgestone has supplied tires in Formula One since 1997, although the company one-off produced Formula One tires at the 1976 and 1977 Japanese Grand Prix for Japanese entrants such as Kazuyoshi Hoshino's Heros Racing and Kojima.
The predecessors of Bridgestone began making diversified products in the 1930s, soon after they started making tires. Today, Bridgestone diversified operations encompass automotive components, industrial products, polyurethane foam products, construction materials, parts and materials for electronic equipment, bicycles and sporting goods. Diversified business generates about one-fourth of total sales in the Bridgestone Group.
Automotive parts are an especially large line of business for Bridgestone in diversified operations. Bridgestone supplies automakers with vibration-isolating components, such as engine mounts. Bridgestone also supplies air springs for trucks, automobiles and train carriages. Bridgestone market aluminium wheels and other automotive accessories, too.