Who invented tires?
Whether we take our car, the bus or the bicycle, they are now convenient for the majority of our trips. Although the inner tube tire really took off at the end of the 19th century with the development of the automobile, it is less known that it was invented for a tricycle.
In 1846, Robert William Thomson, a 23-year-old Scottish engineer and entrepreneur, filed a patent in France for a so-called “air-filled leather wheel. This is the very first tire. Unfortunately for him, this invention fell into oblivion and poor Thomson had to console himself by inventing the fountain pen.
“Tired of the racket caused by the solid wooden wheels of his son’s tricycle, invents a bandage to soundproof them.”
40 years later, and without knowing Thomson’s invention, another Scotsman, John Boyd Dunlop, a veterinarian probably tired of the noise caused by the solid wooden wheels of his son’s tricycle, invented a bandage to soundproof them. He rolls rubber sheets around an axis to form an elastic cylinder, gluing the two ends together to fill them with air. In addition to finding peace, it makes the wheels more comfortable, grippier and faster.
“He launches his first manufacture and meets with great success with cyclists.”
On December 7, 1888, Dunlop filed a patent for the valve tire. And in 1989, using the vulcanization process invented by Charles Goodyear to stabilize the rubber for better resistance to heat variations, he launched his first factory and met with great success among cyclists.
In 1891, the brothers Edouard and André Michelin invented the removable tire with a separate inner tube. This makes it easier to repair a flat tire. André then had the idea to use it on cars. Thanks to their development at the beginning of the 20th century, and then that of the motorcycle, the tire was an immediate success.