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Men and Rubber – another book title that time forgot


I’m reading a book called The Art of Camping by Matthew De Abaitua at the moment. It told me how car camping was partially created by light bulb inventor Thomas Edison, automotive pioneer Henry Ford, the poet John Burroughs and Harvey Firestone, who used to go off on high-profile car camping trips around America.

They were such celebrities that even US president Warren Harding joined them for a night under the canvas. Imagine if Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates went camping together today? It’s thought the camping trips were just publicity stunts to illustrate what cars could do for the common man.

Firestone, of course, was the man behind the Firestone tire company. When I discovered that he had written a book called Men and Rubber I enjoyed a wry chuckle. (I have a juvenile sense of humour.) The book was published in 1926 when Firestone was one of America’s richest and most powerful businessmen. I’m sure lots of people bought the book in the Roaring Twenties – today, it’s forgotten but I love that title. Abebooks offers just eight copies.

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Richard Davies

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