From pioneer to global player
The real story of German tire culture
It takes a pioneering spirit, an unfailing instinct and an obsession with technology to even think of establishing a rubber and gutta-percha company in 1871 – the year the German Reich was founded. At the start, bicycles and solid tires were the only things manufactured at our home plant in Hanover. Close to a quarter of a century was to pass before Hildebrand & Wolfmüller came up with the first serial fuel-powered motorcycle in 1894. And despite a prancing horse still in the logo of the young Continental, we were a driving force in the tire market right from the very beginning and crucially involved in the technological progress being made. As far back as 1892, we were the first German company to manufacture a pneumatic tire and, in 1904, we marketed the first tires with a patterned tread – a sensation in those times. But from that point on, the tempo picked up considerably. The motorization of society in the early 20th century prompted the development of the German tire culture in its purest form: Continental relentlessly researched, tested and invented motorcycle tires, covering hundreds of thousands of kilometers and applying for numerous patents. In fiercely contested racing events, we got to know our weaknesses the hard way – but also came to realize what we were good at. Daring riders like the world record holder Wilhelm Herz, who cracked the 300 km/h mark in 1951 with an NSU Delfin, have immortalized the Continental brand name.
Today, we are carrying forward these traditions in our home plant for motorcycle tires in the North Hessian town of Korbach – with the same passion that marked previous generations. We literally live the German art of engineering and carry on the age-old obsession with “epoch-making“ innovations.