Seizing market opportunities

The automotive industry, then still in its infancy, sparked the ambition of Adolf Dätwyler, an enthusiastic motorist. He wanted to use existing rubber know-how for the production of car tyres. In 1935, defying the atmosphere of crisis, he signed a licensing agreement with the US Firestone group. He opened a factory for the manufacture of car tyres in Pratteln, near Basel. The factory contributed to total earnings for approximately 30 years before being sold back to the American parent company at a profit.

From 1940 onwards the largest scrap rubber regeneration plant in Switzerland was running at full capacity in Altdorf. Motoring was severely restricted during the war, so Dätwyler began producing bicycle tyres in 1941.

Further innovations from the war years testify to the fact that Dätwyler was adept at identifying future trends and even created success stories when times were hard. In 1945 the Cable Division developed the world’s first plastic-insulated high voltage cable, and the specially launched Plastokork floor coverings were based on advanced plastics technology.