The history of tire development is rich, but it’s strange how many events are associated with December 20.
December 20 is the international day of solidarity, which was declared by the UN in 2006. The same day is also dedicated to board games, carols and, apparently, delicious sangria. It could easily be car tire day, as several events associated with them fall on this day in history.
Harvey Samuel Firestone, founder of one of the first automobile tire companies, was born 155 years ago. He was not far from them, as his uncle owned a buggy factory, and it was on them that Harvey tested his first products. In 1896 he opened a tire store in Chicago and two years later moved to the city of Akron, their center at that time.
In 1902, he bought a small factory, started producing his own tires, and two years later expanded production to include a version for cars. The thousands of kits sold to Henry Ford on his “tee” gave him enough funds to develop new compounds and treads. He promoted freight transport, sought to develop the road network and established his own rubber plantations in Liberia. In 1932, his son took over the business.
The first patent dealing with an inflatable tire for automobiles was filed in New York on December 20, 1982 by Messrs. Alexander Brown and George F. Stillman of Syracuse. This type of rubber already existed for carriages, but this was the first time it made its way onto cars. Brown filed for 300 patents during his lifetime, but this one is one of his more obscure. Their tires were easy to mount on rims and were manufactured at the Hartford Rubber Works in Connecticut. Primitive construction used leather with riveted or laced joints.
And then we have December 20, 1945, when the tire rationing system was ended in America. It was introduced on 27 December 1941 with effect from 5 January the following year as a measure to ensure a sufficient supply of rubber products for army vehicles during the Second World War.
The distribution of tires operated on the basis of certificates issued to operators of public service vehicles such as ambulances, fire engines, police, postal and garbage trucks. The special supply also concerned food, fuel and consumer goods distributors. Ordinary citizens could keep a maximum of five tires per car. Interestingly, in order to save on tires and fuel, the sale of new cars was banned from January 1 and a fixed speed limit of 56 km/h came into effect.
This year also marks the 125th anniversary of the Goodyear brand, which was founded in 1889 by Frank Seiberling and named after Charles Goodyear, the inventor of vulcanization. This company’s tires were worn by the Blue Flame special, which broke the land record at the time with a speed of 1001.67 km/h.
Goodyear also made history in commercial sports, with its airships transmitting aerial footage from 1910. His merits in the world of film cannot be denied either. Back to the Future Part I & II (1985–1989) Ford Vs. Ferrari (2019) also known as Le Mans ’66, Rivals (2013), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) and Fight Club (1999).