Most of the tires which have been used over the last 100 years have been pneumatic tires. They are constructed of rubber and allow for a far more comfy ride than other materials. The contemporary transportation system of the world relies completely on pneumatic tires.
A pneumatic tire is a type of tire constructed of toughened rubber and filled with compressed air. Motor vehicles like airplanes, motorcycles, buses, cars and trucks all use pneumatic tires. Wheeled vehicles that are not motorized, such as bicycles, also utilize pneumatic tires.
The tire began after the invention or iron bands used around wooden wheels. It wasn't until the middle part of the 19th century that the use of solid rubber in the creation of tires. 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 word "pneumatic" appeared to describe tires.
In the year 1895, Edouard and Andre Michelin made the very first pneumatic tires for cars in France. The company of the Michelin brothers was destined to become a leading producer of car tires. The first company in the United States to make tires was Goodyear Tire company established in the year 1898, followed by the Firestone Tire & Rubber company in the year 1900, the second United States company to produce tires.
For the first half of the 20th century, pneumatic tires needed a rubber inner tube in order to hold the air pressure. Tires were constructed of toughened layers of plies or cord covered with rubber. The plies were laid on an angle or bias to strengthen it and to define the shape of the tire. These "bias ply" tires had a tread pattern for traction.
Modern radial tires are constructed with the plies running at 90 degrees across the tire body. Inner tube is not necessary as the tire forms an airtight seal with the wheel. This was an invention of the Michelin company in 1948. The tires did not become commonly utilized until the late 1970s. Radial tires last longer and offer better fuel economy.