Tyres seem to be a simple part in any vehicle that make it move. All drivers know that it is important to buy high- quality tyres because they provide a better control over the vehicle, and, thus, ensure safety. However, very few people know the history of tyre manufacturing and design. This article is dedicated to highlighting the most interesting and incredible facts about vehicle tyres that you might not know.
Did you know that …?
- You will be surprise to find out that early vehicles used “artillery wheels”. The tyre in such wheels was literally bolted to the wheel. Just imagine how hard it would be to change such tyres, if manufacturers produced something similar these days.
- Modern tyres are purely black and drivers can “play” with rims, choosing golden or silver rims. When first tyres were manufactured, they were white. Manufacturers added zinc oxide to the rubber in order to make it stronger and better but it had a strange effect. It made tyres bright white.
- Later, in the second decade of the 21 st century, tyre manufacturers obliged their engineers and designers to find a way to extend wear period of tyres and increase their durability. Researchers found a way – they added carbon black, which was a by-product of petroleum industry but became a saving tool. It really increased durability but turned tyres into black.
- But who came up with carbon black at the very beginning? Binney & Smith, famous for Crayola Crayons, sold carbon black to Goodrich tyre manufacturer. The rest, how white tyres became white, you alreadt know.
- You have probably heard about Vogue Tyre and Rubber company, which has been manufacturing tyres for over 100 years. A famous Vogue Tyre - is a high-end luxury tyre – is a product of Vogue Tyre and Rubber company. It is interesting to know that originally whitewall tyre was invented almost accidentally. Carbon black was tread was melded with zinc white sidewall, which resulted in invention of whitewall tyre in 1914.
- Long time ago whitewalls were on both sidewalls of the tyre. At that time vehicles were designed with open fenders. In such a way, people at the street could see both sides of tyres as the vehicle was driving by.
- Raised white letter tyres are produced in the same design or, let’s say, fashion as whitewalls. An extra step covers the sidewall with black, then grinds the rubber off the letters to the white how through.
- Goodyear company, which is a well-known manufacturer of tyres on the world market, like experiments. Thus, in 1961 the manufacturer was experimenting with illuminated tyres. It was not a trend back then and nobody could predict it would become popular. Tyres were lit from the inside by glass incandescent and had nice soft glowing. As you understand, these tyres have never left the market since then.
- The majority of drivers like run-flat tyres because they allow you to driver without air and get to the nearest mechanic. These tyres have certain drawbacks because they have thicker sidewalls but, despite this, BMW installs these tyres on all its vehicles.
- Just imagine that around 300 million of tyres are discarded yearly. There are different ways of tyres recycling. Some recycling companies melt the rubber and use for asphalt, others shred it or event make new tyres from them. If you have a pair of old tyres, you can paint them in bright colours and use as a decoration for your garden.
- Modern vehicles are not sold with spare tyres. Vehicle manufacturers want to shed weight and sell new vehicles with a patch kit and a can of compressed air.
- Everyone loves Mini Cooper because it is nice and stylish. The classic vehicle comes with 165-millimeter wide tyre. The new one Clubman comes with 225-millimeter tyre, which is wrapped around a wheel of 18 inches.
- If you have ever been surprised to see unusual speed ratings in miles, you will get an explanation. The thing is that speed ratings traditionally are set in kilometers. When being converted to miles, they become unequal, for example, Q: 99 mph.
- The Space Shuttles also have wheels and tyres. They usually have the size of 18-wheeler but with very different characteristics. Therefore, the Space Shuttle wheel can support up to 140,000 pounds at a speed 260 mph.
- Michelin manufacturer also like to experiment and improve its products. The company is working on developing “tweel”, which is a one-piece airless tyre and wheel. A new tyre will provide possibility of no flat tyres and eliminate the need of replaceable treads.
- The list of well-know and reputable tyre manufacturers is very long and includes companies such as Michelin, Goodyear, Nokian, Intercontinental, Pirelli, etc. There are tyre manufacturer all over the world but none of the above-mentioned companies produces that many tyres like company in Denmark, the homeland of Hans Christian Anderson. You will be surprised to hear that this is Lego. Yes, the same company that produces Lego constructor for children. The company was established in 1932, and began tyre production for its building block sets thirty years later. In 2011 the tyre production reached 318 million. Van you imagine?
- Tyres have two speed ratings indicated in Z and Y. Originally, Z rating was introduced first and its speed rating was around 149 mph+. Later, the technology made manufacturers to re-consider alphabet apple cart and create rating for tyres with higher performance. This is how Y rated was introduced.
- The largest tyre on the planet is located in Allen Park , Michigan, US. It is tower of around 12 tons and 800 foot. First, it was introduced to public as a Ferris Wheel at World Fair in 1965 but later moved to Allen Park. It is a thing worth seeing so do not miss the opportunity once you are in Michigan.
Now your ideas of traditional tyres have changed for sure. There is much more behind a simple black tyre fixed on your vehicle.