Continental is celebrating its 140th anniversary this year. The leading international tyre and rubber specialist employs approximately 160,000 people at more than 190 locations worldwide but the company came from humble beginnings.
Originally founded in 1871, Continental is now celebrating its 140th anniversary in 2011.
The Hanover-based automotive supplier has continued to grow into a leading global automotive supplier from its roots as a specialist solely for tyres and rubber products.
Nine Hanover-based bankers and industrialists founded Continental-Caoutchouc & Gutta-Percha Compagnie as a joint stock company in 1871. An initial workforce of around 200 employees manufactured soft rubber products and rubberised fabrics, as well as solid tyres for carriages and bicycles. In 1904, it became the first company in the world to develop car tyres with tread patterns. It was also first with removable rims for touring cars in 1908 and the first German company to make tubeless tyres in 1943.
In 1921, Continental built on its existing expertise and took the blueprint of its first pneumatic tyre and transferred it to make the first-ever truck tyre. The innovative nature of the company continued at pace and in 1955, Continental became the first company to develop air springs for trucks and buses.