That said, we need to rewind back to 1847 when Scottish inventor Robert William Thomson filed the first patent on the Rubber "Pneumatic" Tire (Tyre). However, this never went into production. The first practical pneumatic tire was produced in 1888 by Henry Dunlop who mistakenly thought he had invented the first pneumatic tire. Just two short years later, Sir Arthur Du Cros, tells us in his book "Wheels of Fortune, a salute to pioneers" that Dunlop was made aware that in fact, he was not the first but did not share this knowledge with anyone; in 1892 Dunlop's patent was declared invalid because of the prior forgotten art of Thomson. Dunlop however is credited with "realizing rubber could withstand the wear and tear of being a tire while retaining its resilience"; it is said that Dunlop's actual patent was for bicycles not powered vehicles.
John Boyd Dunlop and Harvey du Cros did not throw in the towel; they continued to work together even through numerous considerable difficulties, to ensue there lasting place in the Pneumatic Tire marketplace. Dunlop and Du Cros discovery would go on to become popular when Willie Hume won seven out of eight races with his new pneumatic tires; Harris was "was the first member of the public to purchase a "safety bicycle" fitted with Dunlop's newly patented pneumatic tyres". Dunlop went on to incorporate the Pheumatic Tyre and Booth's Cycle Aganecy Co. Ltd. in 1889. The money for this venture was floated by Du Cros; DuCros was actually the president of the Irish Cyclists' Association. Du Cros had purchased the patent from Dunlop for £3,000; By 1930, Dunlop was the eighth largest public company in Britain by market value, by 1939 it was one Britains largest multinational companies.
In the meantime in America in 1898 Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company was founded by Frank Seiberling just short of forty years after Charles Goodyear's death. Charles Goodyear who is often credited with the invention of "Vulcanized Rubber" and he himself even went as far as to claim that he invented the Vulcanization Process back in 1939. But in fact, in the book, "Mechanics and
Thermomechanics of Rubberlike Solids", published in May of 2014, Saccomandi and Ogden state, "In 1834 the German chemist Friedrich Ludersdorf and Nathaniel Hayward discovered that the addition of sulphur to gum rubber lessened or eliminated... [it's] stickiness". It was in 1853 the American inventor Charles Goodyear claimed that he had founded the Pneumatic tire back in 1939, but Hayward and Ludersdorf state that this was done "using the findings of the two chemist discovered" the same process and named it Vulcnisation ; the product was soon to be call Vulcanized Rubber. Goodyear does state in his book that he did in fact carry out one of many experiments for the optimization of cured rubber whilst collaborating with Nathaniel Hayward whom he had visited at a Roxbury Rubber plant. Some historians claim that Goodyear purchased the rights to use the process from Hayward; Unfortunately Goodyear's process was not accepted in England and failed in a factory in France. However,Goodyear did go on to be granted more than sixty patents; some of these inventions had to be defended by Goodyear on the basis of copyright infringement. One famous case was Goodyear v. Day and Goodyear prevailed after a long court battle that ended in 1852 the same time as his travels to England and eventually France.
Now lets take a few steps back to Dunlop and Cros who would not have been able to form what was to be known as "Dunlop Tires" without the vulcanization technology and the "Clincher" rim
technology traditionally used on bicycles. Prior to this time "wired-on rims were straight-sided. Various "hook" (also called "crochet") designs re-emerged in the 1970s to hold the bead of the tire in place,", This resulted in the modern "Clincher" design.
In a historical background article, Jag.com tells us "In 1898 Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company—[...], the discoverer of vulcanized rubber—was formed in America by Frank Seiberling. Then Firestone Tire & Rubber Company was started by Harvey Firestone in 1900. Other tire makers followed." "Michelin developed and patented a key innovation in tire history in....[1946, the Radial tire], and successfully exploited this technological innovation to become one of the worlds leading tire manufacturers". Indeed it was Michelin to introduce the first Radial tire, this new design had a longer tread life, created better steering, better gas mileage and better rolling resistance, unfortunately it had a substantially harder ride. Therefore the truth to be told "The tire industry was afraid of how much it would cost to retool the entire American tire industry to make the more costly radial tires. Not happy with the threat of having to make tremendous investments, most American automobile makers and tire manufacturers wrote off the radial tire as 'a freak product that isn’t going anywhere'".
"The first recorded attempt to use rubber tires was the English built "Thompson's Rubber Tire Steamer" that was purported to "haul through soft ground, pull a gang of seven plows, and speed along the road at 10 miles per hour." The machine was tested in California's San Joaquin Valley in
1871, but was unsuccessful." More than likely this was B.F. Cook who is credited with putting a steam engine on a combine thereby making it possible to need less "horse-power". The Second was in 1918, International Harvester put rubber tires on an 8-16 tractor (Farmall). by the early 1900's alot of progress had been made and BFG (B.F. Goodrich) introduced their "zero pressure" tire specifically made for farm tractors. Farmcollector.com tells us that " It was neither pneumatic nor solid, but had a web of solid piers inside that supported the outer arch which was said to give the tire enough flexibility to provide full soil contact and superior traction, besides being puncture proof. This tire must not have caught on, because in 1933 Goodrich was advertising a self-cleaning, low pressure tire using a tube".
Pneumatic tires came on the scene for tractors when a Wisconsin farmer Albert Schroeder put a pair of Firestone 48 X 12 (an airplane tire) with the help of Allis-Chalmers (A-C), and they publicly tested successfully on Labor Day in 1932. In October of that year A-C proudly announced that these pneumatic specialty tires that were to be built by Firestone, would now become standard equipment on their Model U Tractors. So, by "1940, 95 percent of tractors were ordered on rubber...[tires] and Harvey Firestone’s dream of putting the farm on rubber was on its way to being reality".
TireReview.com showcased an article in October of last year that tells us that "education has become key in the Agriculture Tire Industry," stated by Bruce Besancon, Alliance Tire Group’s vice president of marketing. "Educating the tire and equipment dealers as well as end-users on new tire technology will become increasingly important[...]One of the key factors is whether or not the farmer really knows how to utilize this technology to the fullest;”[...]"equipment manufacturers, from Deere to Case and Holland...continue to build larger, most powerful and heavier equipment."[...] "With this trend of the use of more powerful heavier equipment; tire manufactures are forced to devote more R&D resources to the newer technologies on the market today"..
I wonder what Goodyear, Firestone, Dunlop, Perrelli and so many more would have to say about new technologies like AI (Auto Inflation), LSW (Low Side Wall), IF (Increased Flexion) and AD2 (Advanced Definition Design), just to name a few. DigitalTrends.com tells us that "It’s apparent that several innovations will have opportunities to work themselves into the traditional pneumatic tire before a wholly new form takes over". He goes on to tell us that even with the development of "energy powertrains and autonomous driving systems", tire manufactures will continue to move the line and keep "investing R&D resources in refining air-filled tires [...] Advances are already here, and as long as hovering cars don’t become the norm in the next decade, we’ll at least see some of this awesome tire technology hit the pavement."
- Sir Arthur Du Cros, Bt, Wheels of Fortune, a salute to pioneers, Chapman & Hall, London 1938
- Dunlop, John Boyd (2008). Hutchinson Dictionary of Scientific Biography. AccessScience. Retrieved 9 July 2009.
- Sharp, Archibald, Bicycles & Tricycles: An Elementary Treatise on Their Design and Construction, Longmans Green, London and New York, 1896, pages 494-502; reprinted by MIT Press, 1977, ISBN 0-262-69066-7
- Brown, Sheldon. "ISO/E.T.R.T.O. 630 mm, Note on tire/rim compatibility". Sheldon Brown. Archived from the original on 22 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
- Jump up ^ "Mistral Demystified: Development of the AM 17" rim". Archived from the original on 17 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
- The Golden Book of Cycling – William Hume, 1938. Archive maintained by 'The Pedal Club'.
- The Bicycle, 12 Nov 1941, p6