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January 2003

New Rubber for Spare Tires

Two women model Firestone's entrée into the world of fashion: undergarments made with Controlastic, an elastic yarn made of rubber ("Our Most Versatile Vegetable Product," said National Geographic in a February 1940 story). The tire company debuted the rubber product, no longer used in today's stretch fabrics, at the 1939-1940 World's Fair with a promise that it would fulfill "that very much formfitting desire that is paramount today in so much of women's wear."

This photograph has never before been published in the Geographic.
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Photograph by Willard R. Culver