When we think about the average car tire, its design seems familiar and straightforward. But vehicle tires haven’t always been as we know them today. In fact, it took a lot of ingenuity over several centuries to slowly shape them into products we rely on. This is a brief history of the passenger tire and how this invention continues to revolutionize the automotive world to this day.
Inventing the Wheel
Before we can discuss how the tire evolved over time, it’s important to understand the invention that started it all—the wheel. Back when our ancestors were still coming to terms with the creation of fire, the wheel was formed as a way to make moving heavy objects easier. However, as revolutionary as this was, people quickly realized that the wheels had little to protect them from harsh terrain and that they were very susceptible to damage.
The First Rubber Tires
Fast-forward to the year 1839—chemist Charles Goodyear has turned his attention toward making a stronger and more durable rubber material. In his research, he discovered that through heating rubber with sulfur, he could create a compound that would hold up to strain and resist general wear and tear. It was with this new process, called vulcanization, that rubber became resilient enough to use on automobile tires.
But the history of the passenger tire doesn’t end there. During the years that followed Goodyear’s discovery, additional efforts would go into perfecting the tire’s performance. Then, in 1888, John Dunlop would reinvent models of pneumatic tires that were unsuccessful a few years prior. These tires, rather than consisting of solid rubber, were designed with an air-filled inner tube. This gave them the ability to reduce vibration from the automobile and increase traction against the road.
The Modern Tire
We’ve even continued to see tires improve over the more recent centuries. Bias ply tires were invented to provide the outer rubber casing with more layers of support, and steel-belted radial tires were created to better fix the tire to the wheel. Both of these new models, combined with the design of the pneumatic tire, have become the standard performance product for vehicles around the world. Passenger tires are incredibly intricate pieces of modern automotive technology. This is why we at RNR Tire Express, seek to not only provide our customers with the best tires in Fayetteville, NC, but also the knowledge of how they work. This way, we can better send home the importance of keeping them in top-performing condition.