Continental is celebrating its 150th year in business in 2021. The company was founded in Hanover, Germany, in 1871, and has nearly 15,000 employees in the United States.
The company began by manufacturing horse “hoof buffers” along with solid tires for carriages and bicycles. In 1921, its 50th anniversary, the company produced its first commercial truck tires, and became the first German company to produce tires reinforced with pliable cords rather than linen fabric. Six years later, it launched the very first pneumatic tractor tire in Europe.
In 1955, Continental was the first company to develop air springs for trucks and buses. According to the company, its ContiSuperElastic solid tires led to what is today the industry standard abbreviation for the category: CSE.
By 1988, the company had almost doubled in size. It acquired Uniroyal and Semperit in Europe, and General Tire in the United States. Over the next 10 years, the company added sites in Central and South America, Africa, and Eastern Europe.
After a 10-year hiatus, Continental re-entered the OTR construction and mining tires segment in 2015
The Continental logo
Continental adopted the “rampant horse” as its logo around 1875. It began with a local veterinarian named Hartmann who invented “hoof buffers” made from soft rubber, designed to prevent horses from slipping on icy surfaces. He held the patent, while Continental produced and distributed them.But the broader significance of the horse stems from the company’s roots in Hanover, Germany; the thoroughbred racing horse of the same name is a traditional symbol in the region. It first appeared on the coat of arms for the Dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the 14th century and is still in use today in the German state of Lower Saxony.