The wheel was invented around 3500 BC, becoming one of man’s greatest innovations. In its earliest form, the wheel was a curved piece of wood. Leather was eventually added to make the ride softer. Over time, the leather was replaced by rubber. The original rubber tire was solid rubber, without air, and was used by slow-speed vehicles.
Benz invented the first gasoline car in 1888, fitted with metal tires covered with air-filled rubber. This was the beginning of the pneumatic tire, which was first seen by the public in a Paris-Bordeaux-Paris automobile race. The tread tire was introduced in 1905. The tread was designed to protect the tire carcass from direct contact with the road. It also improved the tire friction coefficient.
The 1920s saw the development of tire materials. The DuPont Company industrialized synthetic rubber in 1931, allowing the increase in tire production, which used to be dependent on natural rubber. Synthetic rubber ushered in a turning point in tire production. The balloon tire, a low-pressure tire that had a greater contact area with the road surface, was introduced in 1923.
Tubeless tires were developed in 1947 in an attempt to relieve the high cost of oil prices. Tubeless tires contributed to the reduction of the vehicle’s weight, allowing for a significant savings in fuel costs.
The first winter tires or snow tires were introduced in Finland in 1934 when Nokian made tire trucks that were designed for handling stormy weather.
The radial tire was invented in the 1950s. It is a type of tire with the cords and carcass plies arranged vertically to the driving direction. The radial tires turned out to have better fuel economy compared to other tires. They provided uniform contact of the tread with the road surface. This offered good driving stability, even at high speeds.
The run-flat tire was developed in 1979. It allowed vehicles to continue driving up to 50 miles at 50 mph with a punctured tire. Several types of tires were designed later, including eco-friendly tires as well as the Ultra High Performance tire. UHP tires have diameters greater than 16 inches and allow for superior cornering, braking, and drivability. Currently, tire companies are working on a non-pneumatic tire created from a uni-material that can be reused or recycled.
If you’re in the market for new tires, check out a Utah tire store near you. Ask about the best type of tire for your vehicle, including tires for Utah winters. Your local dealer can point you to the latest in winter tires.
Want to know more about the tires your cars currently have? You can find it with this infographic. It discusses tires from the beginning of time, its transformation in the 19th century up to these days. The purpose is still the same but the changes show how people innovate it to ensure its maximum usage and performance.