On Pneumatic Tires


🔗 a linked post to scopeofwork.net » — originally shared here on

The invention of the wheel is often put forward as a pinnacle of human ingenuity, but it strikes me that the defining characteristic of modern transportation systems is not the wheel but the pneumatic tire.

I was biking with my kids up to a splash pad earlier this week when I heard a pop beneath me.

I let the kids get splashing while I investigated my bike, and I found that there was a huge bulge in my back tire.

It caused the tire to have such a severe warp that I had to ride home (slowly) with my rear breaks detached.

So it’s fitting that I came across this article in my Instapaper queue explaining the history of the pneumatic tire.

There are loads of good details about tire manufacturing in here, but one of the more surprising things I learned: as late as 1570, the number of four wheeled carriages in Britain could be counted on a single hand.

Reading this article gave me a lot of appreciation for the humble tire, and there’s no doubt I will have one of my favorite Simpsons bits stuck in my head all day.

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