The History & Origin of Tyres

The history of the tyre is linked to that of most means of transportation and locomotion, such as the car, the motorcycle, the bicycle and even the plane. Without it, they could not have evolved as they have.  The inventor of the tyre is the Scottish veterinarian John Boyd Dunlop in 1888 in the city of Belfast (Scotland). This discovery was especially worthwhile, since Dunlop did not know Thomson’s invention of 1845 or the experiments of the Belgian Charles Dietz in 1836. John Boyd Dunlop, tired of seeing his son run around the pebbles and stones with a wheel tricycle with solid tires, wanted to improve the operation of the vehicle and introduced air through a valve inside some rubber tubes housed inside a canvas cover with rubber bands. 

To know the origins of the tyre you must take into account that the first wheels made by the man were made of wood, and to protect them, a tyre was placed between the ground floor and the wheel itself in order to delay its wear. 

The tyre is an old idea. It is known that the wheels of the car of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun, from the fourteenth century BC were protected by leather wheels. Likewise, the Assyrians of the 8th century BC put double-thick wooden wheels on their cars and protected them with iron wheels. Therefore car tyres in Egypt were being used hundreds of years ago. 

Little else could be done in those times. The evolution of this very important part of the road was hardly changed until the 19th century. In 1839 Charles Goodyear, American inventor of Connecticut, invented the method of vulcanization. 

Through this process the rubber was processed by mixing with sulphur and pressure is subjected to high temperatures. This makes the rubber improve in terms of strength and plasticity. Solid rubber tyres were well known, but traveling with them was really uncomfortable. 

The first history of the tyre was found in 1845. The Scottish engineer Robert W. Thomson invented the first known pneumatic tyre. After trying the horsehair as filler, he devised a canvas cover with leather bands around it to protect a rubber inner tube filled with air. 

Once he experienced his ingenious invention in a carriage, he could see that the wheels equipped with such tyres offered little resistance to the ground, of course much less than those of iron, and Thomson patented his invention. 

A year after Thomson’s invention, in 1846, a rubber manufacturer, the Englishman Thomas Hancock began manufacturing solid rubber tyres that fixed the iron hoops that surrounded the wooden wheel. 

This tyre was three centimetres thick and almost four wide, and logically avoided the tremendous noise of the rolling of the metal tyre itself, it was quite silent and absorbed vibrations, an advantage that was soon appreciated by bicycle manufacturers that they adopted from 1870. 

The tire has not stopped evolving since its invention, always seeking to improve performance, safety, and comfort and lower manufacturing costs. 

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