The Goodyear Eagle F1-G3 High Performance tire from the company website

Wish happy birthday to the tires you drive

On June 15, 1844 a man named Charles Goodyear patented a process now known as vulcanization, that simply involved adding sulfur to natural rubber and heating it. Thereafter the rubber would retain its flexibility even when cold, providing the embryonic beginnings of the modern tire, some of which still bear his name.

Today we drive on tires labeled with the name of Goodyear and others who furthered the science behind the modern tire. We drive thousands of miles on them checking the pressure sporadically, with never a thought about what an innovation they once were.

Some forty years later, John B. Dunlop created the first inflatable tire for his son’s tricycle. These pneumatic tires were first used for bicycles and notably won the first race they were used in by Willie Hume, captain of the Belfast Cruisers Cycling Club.

Dunlop received a patent for inflatable tires on December 7, 1888. However, his patent was revoked when it was discovered that Scottish inventor Robert William Thomson (1822–1873), had patented the idea in France in 1846 and in the US in 1847, many years before Dunlop. Still there are Dunlop tires on the road and the name of Thomson is nowhere to be found where the rubber meets the road.

Except for a retread shop in Thomson, GA

According to the US Census Bureau, in 1910, the BF Goodrich company discovered that adding carbon to tires would make them last longer, with the side effect of making them black.

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