You look at a modern car and you know without thinking about it that it has a round, rubber tyre at each corner that ensures that the travellers in that car receive a comfortable ride. But it wasn’t always this way. Back in the 1800’s there were no tyres, the wheels were crafted by a wheelwright and they consisted of tightly forged bands of steel and iron which bound the segments of the wheel together. In essence the metal strips tied the components of the wheel together which is where the modern word tyre comes from. Over the decades that passed since these early days, tyres have changed a lot; becoming softer and designed to cope with different types of weather. These new tyres came after several pioneers experimented with rubber, latex and sulphur.
One of the biggest names in the tyre industry that has been around since the late 1800’s is Michelin and the brand is still incredibly popular today. The company was established by two brothers in 1891 and is still very much a big name in the tyre industry. The purpose of the tyre was to ensure smooth travel, protecting the structure of the car from the bumps and knocks on an uneven road surface. Along the lines of the car, driving on sturdy air filled cushions for a smooth a ride as possible, no matter how bad the road. Compared to the early days of the type, modern cars are literally driving on air compared to the old boneshakers of the 1800’s – then the car tyre was not much more advanced than the wheels that you would find on a cart or wagon. These days they are made from both natural and synthetic rubber and incorporate wire and fabric for extra strength and durability.
Supply and Demand
There are millions of cars, trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles on the road today and all of them need tyres in order for them to travel. Over one billion tyres are manufactured every year in order to meet this demand. Current statistics show that around 1.75 billion tyres are expected to be sold on an annual basis by 2015, and this figure is increasing year on year, this amounts to over £100 Billion which is mainly distributed between the five major tyre manufacturers of Michelin, Bridgestone, Pirelli, Continental and Goodyear. It seems that as long as we continue to indulge our passion for the motor vehicle the tyre industry well be kept in business.
Despite the current economic down turn people are still buying cars in order to be able to carry out their daily business, all of these cars need tyres. There are a number of different tyres available all aimed at allowing the car to perform at maximum efficiency in different weather circumstances and on different road surfaces. As long as car technology continues to advance so will tyre technology and the demand for tyres will never cease, it is a never ending cycle of supply and demand.