History of Tyres

The tyre originally was made of iron and then steel and tied on wooden wheels and used on carts and wagons. The fact that they were tied on inspired the word tyre and the name has remained ever since.

In the 1800’s the Indians used to use sheets of rubber for waterproofing. Charles McIntosh started experimenting with latex sap. There were intrinsic problems with latex, in the cold they became brittle and in warm weather they were tacky (from the heat).

In 1839 Charles Goodyear patented the adding of sulphur to the melted latex, it enhanced the product and gave it strength and durability. This vulcanised rubber was used initially on bicycles.

In 1846 Mr Robert Thomson patented the idea of a pneumatic rubber tyre initially in France and then in 1847 in the USA. Many years later in 1889 John Dunlop was trying to make his sons tricycle more comfortable managed to re-invent the pneumatic tyre. A legal battle arose and two years later Dunlop’s patent was deemed invalid.

In 1891, the detachable pneumatic tyre was invented and patented by two brothers, Edouard and Andrei Michelin. The Michelin brothers went on to develop the first radial tyre in 1948. This was revolutionary and meant lots of advantages for the motorist including a longer life and increased durability. It was adopted slowly due to the fact that it required a different type of suspension system.

Tyre History Timeline

1839 Charles Goodyear invents vulcanised rubber
1946 Robert William Thomson patents the vulcanised rubber pneumatic tyre
1889 John Dunlop invents pneumatic tyres for bicycles.
1891 Michelin patent pneumatic tyres.
1908 Frank Seiberling invented grooved tyres.
1910 B.F. Goodrich adds carbon to the rubber achieving a tyre with a longer life.
1948 The radial tyre is patented by Michelin
1974 Pirelli launched wide radial tyre