Scene Of Explosion In Operation 17 Yrs. /
By JOSEPH KUEBLER /
Today's explosion at the Firestone Research Center came just three weeks after the 17th anniversary of the completion of the $2,000,000 structure.
The company's main research laboratories were finished March 2, 1945, during the latter stages of World War II. It was dedicated Sept. 18 of the same year.
THE three-story buff-brick, air-conditioned building stands on a 20-acre tract of land on the northeast corner of S. Main st. and Wilbeth rd. overlooking the Firestone Akron plants. It contains about 100,000 sq. ft. of floor space.
A memorial to the late Harvey S. Firestone, the company's founder, which stands on the research grounds was dedicated Aug. 3, 1950.
Second floor of the center has been occupied primarily
by chemists, physicists and technicians engaged primarily in research and development activities in rubber and plastics.
THE entire third floor is given over to the Firestone Historical Exposition which traces the company's growth from its founding in 1900.
Viewed by thousands of visitors over the years, the displays included antique tires going back to the firm's earliest days and an exhibit showing the evolution of tire building machines.
In a conspicuous place is a Fageol racing car that qualified for the 1949 Indianapolis race. Other exhibits ranged from the story of putting the farm on rubber to Firestone's Liberian plantations and how natural rubber is obtained from trees.
How badly the displays and exhibits were damaged could not be determined immediately.
AS PART of the research center's safety precautions, workers could go from one lab to another through escape hatches in the walls if the doorways were blocked. Safety showers were in the hallways as a part of fire prevention.
One of the departments in the center is an experimental rubber mill and curing room where rubber is compounded, mixed and vulcanized on a miniature scale.
The building also has a machine shop where research technicians build special scientific instruments they design.
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