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In 1845 the rubber tire was invented

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In 1845 the rubber tire was invented

The Englishman Robert William Thomson made the first rubber tire in 1845. But his "pneumatic tire" was not yet used. Cars and motorcycles had not yet been invented. The idea was forgotten again.

It was a long way from the invention of the wheel to the rubber tire: around 3000 BC. The wheel is first mentioned in a document in Mesopotamia. The Mayans and Aztecs were already tapping around 500 BC. Chr. Rubber trees to make play balls from the whitish sap, the latex milk.

But it wasn't until 1745 that the French scientist De La Kondamine discovered rubber.

250 years earlier - in 1495 - there were already drafts of chain-driven vehicles in sketches by Leonardo da Vinci, albeit with thin wheels and still without tires.

In 1791 the French Sieur de Sivrac built a non-steerable wooden balance bike with iron-studded wheels and took it for a walk in the park of the Palais Royal in Paris. He is the French "father" of the original bicycle.

In 1824, Reithoffer founded the continent's first rubber goods factory in Austria, which later became Semperit Reifen AG.
 
Ahead of the times
 

As Robert William Thomson (right) patented the pneumatic tire in 1845, nobody could do anything with it. The bicycle was in its infancy, and Thomson's idea and patent were quickly forgotten.

Nevertheless, he had his tire patented in Great Britain, France and the USA. Later, however, Dunlop (1888) and the Michelin brothers (1890) became more famous with their pneumatic tires.

Comfortable children's toys

Irish veterinarian and inventor John Boyd Dunlop (Left picture) reinvented the air-filled tire in 1888. Dunlop invented the tire for his son's tricycle, which was jolted when driving on cobblestones.

Dunlop then glued a rubber hose together at the ends, placed it on a wooden wheel and covered the construction with canvas. A converted pacifier served as a valve. Dunlop probably didn't know Thompson's invention.

The bicycle tube ensures mobility

Of course there were patent disputes, but they were resolved when Dunlop was able to demonstrate significant technical improvements in the pneumatic tire. He already thought up rims and valves. The industrial production of bicycle tubes soon made it possible to use bicycles as a means of mass transport.

The world's first motorcycle, the "Reitwagen" from Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, was still rolling in 1885 on iron-studded wooden spoke wheels. The fire horse had two small training wheels so that it could not tip over.

Dunlop's invention of the "pneumatic tire" gave birth to a new industry. Companies such as Dunlop, Continental, Metzeler, Michelin, B.F.Goodrich, Phoenix, Firestone, Excelsior, Universal, Pirelli and Avon, to name just the largest, were soon producing tires for motorcycles.

Shortly before the 20th century, the course was set for mobility. Fast vehicles such as motorcycles and cars would be unthinkable without the invention of the tire.

Text: RR, December 5, 2005, image: Dunlop / Thomson PD

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