Friday, March 21, 2008

Bicycle tire timeline

Bicycle Tire Timeline
1790 The first basic bicycle, the ‘Celerifere’, runs on tires made of wood. Frenchman Comte Mede de Sivrac invents the Celerifere or the ‘Hobbyhorse’ which has two wheels but no steering or pedals and has to be moved around by pushing with the feet against the ground.
1817 German Baron, Karl Drais makes the “Laufmaschine” completely from wood. Called the ‘Draisienne’, this two-wheeled machine runs on wooden tires too.
1844 Charles Goodyear invents vulcanized rubber that would soon revolutionize the history of the bicycle tire. Goodyear’s invention lays the foundation for cured rubber tires.
1845 Engineer Robert W. Thompson, of England patents the pneumatic or inflatable tire. The tire consists of a canvas inner tube enclosed by a leather outer tire. He called it the Aerial Wheel. Though the tire resulted in a good ride, it was not commercially successful and the invention went undeveloped.
1866 Metal tires replace wooden bicycle tires in Pierre Lallement’s model called the ‘Velocipede’. This two-wheel machine had pedals on the front wheel and was given the name ‘boneshaker’ in the U.S., because of its rough ride.
1869 A Frenchman, Eugene Meyer, invents the wire-spoke tension wheel and produces a beautifully designed high wheel bicycle, with a small rear wheel and a large front wheel.The same year, William Van Anden obtains the first freewheel patent.
1870 In England, an Engineer named James Starley develops the ‘Penny Farthing’, the high-wheeler of Britain, named after the large and small coins in the currency. The bicycle ran on solid rubber tires mounted on steel rims. Called the ‘Ariel’, the bicycle was made of metal and had wheels with tangent wire spokes.
1874 James Starley is awarded a patent for tangent spokes.
1876 Browett and Harrison patent an early caliper brake.
1879 Henry Lawson adds a rear-chain-drive mechanism to the penny farthing bicycle calling it ‘bicyclette’. Called ‘The Crocodile’ by critics Lawson’s model fails to succeed in the market.
1882 Thomas B. Jeffery, a bicycle manufacturer and inventor, gets the patent for the precursor of clincher tires.
1885 John Kemp Starley, nephew of James Starley, designs the first successful ‘safety bicycle’ with equal-sized wheels and a chain drive to the rear wheel. This is the first modern age bicycle with two-equal sized wheels that entirely replaced the penny farthings. In spite of the model being successful, J. K. Starley did not patent his design.
1887 John Boyd Dunlop, a Scottish veterinarian, develops the first pneumatic bicycle tire (filled with air) for his son’s tricycle. Dunlop’s tire for which he was awarded a patent in 1888 has a leather hosepipe serving as the inner tube and outer rubber tire with treads. His invention brings the era of hard rubber-tired bicycles to an end and steers the way for smooth bicycle rides. It won’t be long before rubber inner tubes are invented.
1893 August Schrader and his son George Schrader invent an improved version of valve to keep the air in the tire. Schrader valves are still popularly used in bicycle tires.
1896 E.H. Hodgkinson patents a 3-speed gradient gear, a pre-cursor of the modern derailleur.
1911 Philip Strauss invents the combination tire of air-filled inner rubber tube and outer rubber tire.
1930s Multi-ratio gearing systems are introduced in racing bicycles.
1933 German builder Ignaz Schwinn who emigrated to the U.S. and founded his bicycle company in 1895 introduces the balloon tire (widened tire), that will be a trendsetter for rugged bikes for the next 40 years.
1950s Derailleur systems evolve.
1962 England saw the emergence of usage of small custom tires for a model bicycle called ‘The Moulton’.
1978 Launch of the first high-quality foldable clincher tire called the Turbo.
Bicycle tire - today The modern age bicycle tires were in use from the 1970’s though there were continual improvements in design and construction, largely to enhance efficiency. Racing and touring bicycles use narrow high-pressure tires, while all terrain and mountain cycles are fitted with broader waffle-tread tires. The modern tires are designed with a lot of emphasis on aero dynamism with light weight and specialized materials to ensure efficiency and minimal road resistance.

please feel free to add to our timeline by emailing us with important dates and events that you know about.

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