Tuesday 20 August 2019

Origin of Tyres

CAPE TIMES – 1933, August 18
Where did the name "TYRE" come from?
The origin of the name “tyre” is shrouded in antiquity. There are at least two theories as to its derivation. One traces it to the Phoenician city of Tyre.
When Alexander the Great entered this city in 332 B.C. his war chariots were equipped with wooden wheels bound with iron or bronze. But here Alexander found other chariots magnificently constructed and reserved for the pleasure of the rich. He was impressed with the wheels on the pleasure chariots which had, secured by thongs to the bronze rims, an outer rim of leather.
This is the first known use of a tyre for reducing vibration and thereby promoting the comfort of the passenger, although, when Tutankhamen’s tomb was opened up by Lord Carnarvon and Mr. Howard Carter, the remains of a chariot were found, with wheels which, to all appearances, had carried some form of tyres.
Leather tyres were soon introduced into both Greece and Italy and even though iron and bronze wheel-rims had been in use for centuries before Alexander’s day it is just possible that the word “tyre” originated from the Greek or Latin name of this Phoenician city where this early cushion tyre is said to have been used.
Another theory favours a British origin. In ancient Britain it is said, the iron rims that bound the wooden cart wheels were called “tie-ers.”
In 1845 R. W. Thompson, a Scots road locomotive engineer, invented the first air-inflated tyre, which was laced or bolted to the carriage wheel. It consisted of plies of canvas saturated with rubber, but failed as the rubber was not vulcanized.
Forty years passed before anyone again gave serious thought to the possibilities of pneumatic tyres. But during this interval solid rubber tyres were generally used on bicycles and carriages and in 1884 Macintosh introduced the cushion tyre. This tyre, with a succession of cavities in the form of a spongy mass in the centre, was more resilient and was adopted at once for carriages.

THE STAR Johannesburg - 1918, February 28
Then in 1888, as recently described in The Austin Magazine, John Boyd Dunlop invented the first practical pneumatic tyre. So many inventors set to work to improve on J.B. Dunlop’s idea that for the next few years the Patent Offices in both England and the United States were deluged with applications.
Sometime antecedent to 1895 Dunlop motor tyres first appeared and in that year Dunlop 30 in. x 6¼ in. motor tyres were in use. With the Dunlop tyres of 1902 a foot pump and repair outfit were supplied! Incidentally, the minimum tyre pressure advised was 75 lb. per square inch!
In France the pneumatic tyre was first adopted for the motor-car in the early nineties, by the Michelin brothers, who unable to adapt the new type of tyre to their cars, actually built a car to fit the tyres. Though their first experiments were discouraging, by 1896 their pneumatic motor-car tyre was on the market. 

De Volkstem - 1925, 8 October

From that time the improvement of motor-car tyres kept steady pace with car improvements. The first effort to overcome skidding, which frequently occurred with the smooth rubber threads, was the invention of a leather thread studded with steel rivets and vulcanized to the rubber tyre. Then came the moulded rubber non-skid thread more or less as we know it today. The first cord tyre was invented in 1893 by John F. Parmer, of Chicago, and was at that time a bicycle tyre. Some time later a cord tyre for electric automobiles was introduced known as the “Power Saver.” Later came the cord tyre for motor-cars, which has now replaced entirely the square woven fabric tyre of all types. The cord construction, which employs cords laid to the inflated shape of the tyre cover, so that no internal stresses are set up when the tyre is fully inflated, is used throughout the world today, and is actually the same as that used in the “Power Saver” tyres of 25 years ago. 
(G.J. Joint in Austin Magazine)

CAPE ARGUS - 1918, November 8

THE STAR Johannesburg - 1918, March 7

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