The majority of tires used in contemporary times are considered to be pneumatic tires. The use of rubber in tires enabled the invention of pneumatic tires which allowed for a much more comfortable ride. The world's contemporary transportation system relies entirely on pneumatic tires.
The pneumatic tire is a durable rubber tire and is then compressed with air. Motorized vehicles including trucks, buses, cars, airplanes and motorcycles all use pneumatic tires. Wheeled vehicles which are not motorized, like for example bicycles, also utilize pneumatic tires.
The history of tires begins with the creation of iron bands around wooden wheels. The utilization of solid rubber in the construction of tires started in the mid-19th century. The very first patent for a successful pneumatic tire was issued in 1888 to Irishman John Dunlop who created an inner-tube for a bicycle tire. This was when the term "pneumatic" appeared to describe tires.
In 1895, Edouard and Andre Michelin produced the very first pneumatic tires for cars in France. The Michelin brothers' company was destined to become a leading manufacturer of tires for cars. The first United States company to produce tires was Goodyear Tire company established in the year 1898, followed by the Firestone Tire & Rubber company in the year 1900, the second U.S. company to produce tires.
A rubber inner tube was utilized in all pneumatic tires in the first half of the 20th century to help hold the air pressure. Tires were made of toughened layers of plies or cord covered with rubber. The plies were laid on an angle or bias to define the shape of the tire and strengthen it. These "bias ply" tires had a tread pattern for traction.
Modern radial tires are made with the plies running at 90 degrees across the body of the tire. They require no inner tube as the tire forms an airtight seal with the wheel. This was a creation of the Michelin company in the year 1948. The tires did not become widely used until the late 1970s. Radial tires last longer and provide better fuel economy.