Evolution of The Tyre During The 20th Century

The tyre, is a piece of rubber that is placed on the wheels of vehicles and machines. Its main function is to allow adequate contact by adhesion and friction with the pavement, allowing starting, braking and guidance. The tyre is an important part of passive safety; its condition and maintenance directly influence the compartment and the benefits that we may require when it comes to emergency needs or driving on wet floors. The tyres have evolved over the years, from the simplest to the most sophisticated we can find today. We will take a tour of its history.

The wheels have been used for thousands of years, but the idea of rubber on the outer edge was not used until the 19th century. Regarding who invented it, there are some doubts, since it seems that several people in different places around the world had the idea of using rubber almost at the same time.

Evolution of the tyre during the 20th century


Around 1910, Goodyear and Firestone developed heel tyres with straight or semi-straight sides, which improved their stiffness. Also in those years carbon black was incorporated into the tyres, a great advance to increase its resistance to abrasion and wear (until then the tyres were white). Likewise, the first ones appeared with drawings, which made driving easier and safer, especially when it rained.


In 1937 Michelin invented the steel casing and a few years later, in 1946 he invented and patented the radial tyre, used since then by all tyre manufacturers. In 1955 the first tyre without an air chamber appears, known as tubeless.


In 1962 Bridgestone developed its first radial steel wheels in Japanese steel for trucks and buses and in mid-1964 created the first radial structure tyres for private vehicles.


In 1972 Continental launched the first winter car tyre without nails, known as ContiContact.


Already in the 80s, Pirelli invented low profile tyres, a fundamental technological innovation, which allows reducing the height of the flanks.


In 1992, Goodyear tested the first airless tyre that allows, after a flat tyre, to continue rolling at reduced speed for a limited number of kilometers.


In 1993 Michelin associates an original silica and a synthetic elastomer, a mixture that made it possible to manufacture tyres that have low rolling resistance (will eventually reduce fuel consumption), and good adhesion on cold soils, without losing their quality wear resistance


In 1999 Dunlop created Warnair technology, the first system that alerts in real time of a loss of pressure with visual and acoustic warnings. Later, Continental launches a model that incorporates a system that measures pressure and sends a signal to the dashboard.

Advances in recent years

The tyre continues to evolve thanks to the research and technology of large manufacturers. Some of the most significant advances in recent years have been to ensure that it does not deform sharply when it suddenly loses pressure (run-flat), the self-sealing technology incorporated by several manufacturers, all-season tyres for the four seasons of the year and , with the collection of data as a reference, a complete integrated information system that includes sensors and algorithms housed in the cloud, to communicate in real time, through an application, information on the identification and condition of the tyres (wear, temperature, pressure). The next? On the way, in some research laboratory.

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Written by Naveed Ganatra

Story Maker

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