The wheel is undoubtedly one of humanity’s most profound inventions, revolutionizing transportation and paving the way for the development of civilizations and societies. And at the heart of the wheel, quite literally, lies the tyre. The humble tyre, with its ability to grip the ground, absorb shocks, and carry the weight of vehicles, has played a pivotal role in shaping the course of human history. But how did the tyre come into existence, and how has it changed over time? This article takes you on a fascinating journey through the ages, tracing the evolution of tyres from their humble beginnings as wooden wheels to the cutting-edge smart tyres of today.

– Around 3500 BCE: The wheel was invented as a curved piece of wood. Leather was added to soften the ride.

– 1840s: The word tyre was first used to refer to metal bands fitted around wooden wheels.

– 1888: John Boyd Dunlop invented the first pneumatic tyre, which was filled with air and used for bicycles.

– 1895: Pneumatic tyres were used for the first time in an automobile race from Paris to Bordeaux.

– 1904: The first detachable rim was introduced by Rudge-Whitworth, which allowed for easier removal and replacement of tyres. 

– 1905: Tread tyres were introduced, which had patterns on the surface to improve traction and durability.

– 1910: The first whitewall tyre was introduced by the Diamond Rubber Company, which had a thin layer of white rubber on the sidewall to protect the tyre from scuffing.

– 1911: The first cord tyre was developed by Continental, which used rayon fabric instead of cotton to increase the strength and durability of the tyre.

– 1912: Michelin introduced the first steel wire bead tyre, which improved the strength and durability of the tyre.

– 1923: Balloon tyres were introduced, which had lower air pressures and larger contact patches with the road.

– 1931: Synthetic rubber was industrialized by DuPont, increasing the availability and production of tyre rubber.

– 1934: Winter tyres or snow tyres were introduced in Finland, which had grooves and studs to provide grip in soft snow and mud.

– 1937: Firestone introduced the first low-pressure tyre, which had a wider footprint on the road and improved stability and traction. 

– 1947: Tubeless tyres were introduced, which eliminated the need for inner tubes and reduced the weight and fuel consumption of vehicles.

– 1948: The first tube-type tyre with a synthetic inner lining was developed by Goodyear, which improved air retention and reduced the risk of blowouts.

– 1949: Radial tyres were commercialized, which had cords arranged vertically to the driving direction and provided better stability and economy.

– 1950s: Tubeless tyres became more popular, as they offered benefits such as improved safety, reduced maintenance, and better performance. 

– 1955: The first tubeless radial tyre was developed by Michelin, which combined the advantages of tubeless and radial tyres.

– 1964: The first radial-ply tyre with polyester cords was introduced by Michelin, which provided better durability and fuel efficiency. 

– 1968: The first all-season tyre was introduced by Goodyear, which had a tread design that could handle both wet and dry conditions.

– 1970s: Steel-belted radial tyres became popular, which had steel wires embedded in the rubber to increase strength and resistance to punctures.

– 1972: The first radial tyre with a low aspect ratio was introduced by Pirelli, which had a wider tread and a shorter sidewall to improve the handling and performance of sports cars.

– 1974: The first steel-belted radial tyre with polyester cord was developed by Michelin, offering improved handling and performance. 

– 1980s: Run-flat tyres were developed, which could continue to function even after losing air pressure due to a puncture or damage.

– 1989: The first self-sealing tyre was launched by Goodyear, which had a special lining that could seal small punctures automatically.

– 1990s: Low rolling resistance tyres were introduced, which reduced the friction between the tyre and the road and improved fuel efficiency and emissions.

– 1994: The first run-flat tyre with extended mobility technology was introduced by Michelin, which had a reinforced sidewall that could support the weight of the vehicle even after losing air pressure.

– 1998: Michelin introduced the first tyre with a built-in pressure monitoring system, which allowed drivers to easily monitor tyre pressure and avoid accidents. 

– 2000s: Smart tyres or intelligent tyres were invented, which had sensors and microchips to monitor tyre pressure, temperature, load, wear, and other parameters.

– 2005: Run-flat tyres became more widespread, offering extended mobility after a puncture and eliminating the need for spare tyres. 

– 2012: The first airless tyre was unveiled by Bridgestone, which used a thermoplastic resin structure to support the load and eliminate the risk of punctures.

– 2013: Continental introduced the first tyre with sensor technology that could measure tread depth and wear, providing real-time data for maintenance and safety purposes. 

– 2017: The first spherical tyre concept was revealed by Goodyear, which had a 3D-printed tread and magnetic levitation to allow 360-degree movement and adapt to different road conditions.

– 2018: Pirelli unveiled the first 5G-connected tyre, which allowed for real-time monitoring of tyre performance and provided data for autonomous driving systems. 


In conclusion, the history of tyres is a testament to human ingenuity and technological progress. From the simple wooden wheel to the smart tyres of today, the tyre has evolved to meet the changing needs and demands of transportation. As we continue to innovate and advance, the tyre industry will play a vital role in shaping the future of mobility.