The idea of the wheel itself was apparently invented way back in BC 4500 with two young lads playing a game whereby they ‘rolled stones’ in the Mesopotamian city of Eridu.
They would roll stones down a hill and whoever’s stone went the furthest won. The winners of this game became very popular among the young females of the city! These highly motivated players discovered that a round shape worked best for rolling. It then becomes a popular game among the upper castes. The lower castes couldn’t afford to play the game because it took one slave a full week to make a wheel and the wheels were easily damaged during the game.
So who was it that invented the first usable tyre and when?
It was in 1888 that Scotsman John Boyd Dunlop invented the first usable pneumatic tyre. Many years before, at the beginning of tyre history, there had been huge competition to improve driving comfort and safety on the roads/trails. Mr Dunlop succeeded in substituting air-filled rubber tubes for the metal fittings in the wooden wheels being used. Tubes made of very thick rubber and were wrapped in bandages. They needed to have a very high air pressure – more than 10 bar. The beaded edge tyre was developed from this idea. A beaded edge tyre had beads along the sides of the tyre which were hooked into the wheel’s rim. Using this system and a relatively high air pressure of at least 3 bar it was possible to stabilise the tyre and its tube on the rim. From here on the beaded edge tyre was constantly improved and by the late 1920s it was being used on almost all motor vehicles across Europe.
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