Sunday 11th May 1947
B.F. Goodrich Company of Akron, Ohio, announced the development of a tubeless tire, a technological innovation that would make automobiles safer and more efficient. Pneumatic tires, or tires filled with pressurised air, were used on motor vehicles beginning in the late 1800s, when the French rubber manufacturer Michelin & Cie became the first company to develop them. For the first 60 years of their use, pneumatic tires generally relied on an inner tube containing the compressed air and an outer casing that protected the tube and provided traction. The disadvantage of this design was that if the inner tube failed–which was always a risk due to excess heat generated by friction between the tube and the tire wall–the tire would blow out immediately, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The culmination of more than three years of engineering, Goodrich’s tubeless tire effectively eliminated the inner tube, trapping the pressurised air within the tire walls themselves. By reinforcing those walls, the company claimed, they were able to combine the puncture-sealing features of inner tubes with an improved ease of riding, high resistance to bruising and superior retention of air pressure. While Goodrich awaited approval from the U.S. Patent Office, the tubeless tires underwent high-speed road testing, were put in service on a fleet of taxis and were used by Ohio state police cars and a number of privately owned passenger cars. The testing proved successful, and in 1952, Goodrich won patents for the tire’s various features. Within three years, the tubeless tire came standard on most new automobiles.