The history of tires dates back to the 1300s when they were first created using leather to dress wheels and make the ride more comfortable. Over time, rubber replaced leather as the primary material for tires. The original tire was made completely of solid rubber and did not have any air in it. They were mostly used by slower vehicles.
The tires on our vehicles have changed a lot since they were first invented, and each change has been crucial to their evolution. As automobiles have advanced, so too have the tires been updated with new changes being made all the time.
The evolution of the tire is a fascinating one that has taken it from the solid, no-air rubber tires to the modern ones we see today. Let’s take a brief look at the history of the tire and how it has evolved over time:
Breaking Down the History of Tires
1888 – THE BEGINNING
Benz created the first gasoline car in 1888, and it was equipped with air-filled rubber tires instead of metal ones. This was the first time that the general public saw pneumatic tires, and they were absolutely astonished by the concept. They first saw these types of tires in a Paris-Bordeaux-Paris automobile race.
1905 – INTRODUCTION OF TREAD TYRES
The tread tire was introduced in 1905 as a way to protect the tire carcass from coming into direct contact with the road. The tread also helped to improve the tire’s friction coefficient, making it easier for the tire to grip the road. The tread is made entirely out of thick rubber, which also helps to protect the inner carcass and breaker from wear and tear.
1923 — LOW-PRESSURE BALLOON TIRES
In the 1920s, Firestone introduced its first balloon tires to the world. This innovation was inspired by a desire to make it easier for drivers to handle their vehicles by making the tires more flexible and responsive.
Balloon tires work by using low air pressure to create maximum contact area with the road surface of the road. These tires were initially used in mainstream vehicles, but with time, they grew to be primarily for off-roading automobiles.
1931 — SYNTHETIC RUBBER INDUSTRIALIZATION
The 1920s saw a rise in automobile use and, with this, increased demand for rubber tires mounted. The limited quantities of rubber, however, and its expensive nature posed significant hurdles in tire manufacturing. After much effort was put into developing synthetic rubber, 1931 saw a breakthrough when DuPont started commercially producing synthetic rubber, which improved the availability and quality of rubber.
1946 — INCREASED MILEAGE WITH RADIAL TIRES
The Radial tire was first invented by an American named Gerald Goodyear, who was trying to find a way to improve tire life by reducing friction. His idea was that if he could reduce the amount of rubber needed to make his tires, he could save money and extend the life of his product. He tested many ideas over time, but none worked until he got one right—and that was when he invented the Radial tire!
But it wasn’t until 1968 that Michelin decided an American company should start using them as well (they were already available in Europe and Asia). The company also made sure its tires were made from natural rubber so they wouldn’t harm the environment or the people who used them.
1947 — ELIMINATION OF THE INNER AIR TUBES
The history of the tubeless tire starts in 1947 when B.F. Goodrich introduced the inner tube and durable tire covering it. Tires before this posed a risk to the tire life, as the inner tube could experience a leak and thus blow out.
By 1955, tubeless tires became the standard design after Goodrich won the patent for them.
1979–80 — ENHANCED SAFETY WITH RUN-FLAT TIRES
In the 1980s, run-flat tires were developed. A run-flat tire is a tire that can be driven even after it has suffered a puncture. The tire allows the vehicle to continue driving at a constant speed even after suffering a puncture. This prevents accidents and protects passengers in emergency situations. Run-flat tires were widely adopted in the 1980s. However, 1994 saw a glorious moment when Chevrolet became the first company to offer run-flat tires as standard tires for its Corvette.
2000 – ECO-TUNING TYRES
The name says it all: these tires are focused on environmental conservation. These tires help you save fuel and protect the environment so that you can take your vehicle wherever you want to go.
2012 – NON-PNEUMATIC TYRES
Hankook, a Korean company, invented non-air tires using new materials. The manufacturing process of the non-pneumatic tires was reduced the manufacturing process by half. The best part? These can easily be recycled. These are designed for hybrid and hydrogen cars.
A decade ago, Hankook created a non-air tire that could reduce the manufacturing process by half (and even more if you recycle it). They were designed specifically for hybrid and hydrogen cars.
The tire industry has been doing well for a long time, but it owes much of its success to the early innovators who never settled for the status quo. They were always looking for new ways to improve their products, and this motivation has been maintained by modern industries seeking to develop eco-tuning tires that can be used in eco-friendly cars and production of better non-pneumatic tires that can be reused and recycled.
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