History and Story Behind Inventions: Pneumatic Automobile Tire

About the story behind the invention of the pneumatic automobile tire, history and biography of inventor John Dunlop and her invention.

INVENTION: Automobile Tire, Pneumatic

INVENTOR: John Dunlop, G.B.

YEAR: 1880s

HOW INVENTED: The Scottish veterinarian, who lived in Belfast, was constantly concerned about the accidents his son had riding his tricycle, with its metal wheels, over the rough cobblestone streets. The wheels would bump, tip the bike, send the lad sprawling. Determined to make the tricycle ride more smoothly, Dunlop got hold of rubber tubes, filled them with compressed air, fitted them on the wheels of the tricycle. Thereafter, the lad found himself "riding on air."

By 1891, the pneumatic tire was being produced by the George R. Bidwell Cycle Company, of New York City. A year later, Alexander T. Brown and George F. Stillman, of Syracuse, N.Y., patented a pneumatic automobile tire for horseless carriages. In 1895, the pneumatic tire was being manufactured by Hartford (Conn.) Rubber Works, and in that year a Duryea race car rode the tires to their 1st victory.

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