Some manufacturers of winter tyres were slow to start
There is no doubt about it, that in recent times the winter tyres as we know them today, have taken off big style, with motorists here in the UK.
I can actually remember another window in time, when I was a tyre fitter for one of the national tyre companies in a small town called Dewsbury, in Yorkshire UK. From what I can remember, we must have been going through a spell of cold winters then because I can clearly remember that we were fitting winter tyres.
The tyres were mainly remould tyres, because the drivers did not want to run these tyres in the summer months. The winter tyres then were really summer tyres with a very heavy tread pattern attached to the tyres carcass. The tread patterns were usually derived from the old tread patterns as used by the new tyre manufacturers. The old Firestone and Goodyear tread patterns were very popular. The tyre remould company would buy the old tyre moulds from these companies and use them to remould their tyres from old casings.
The remoulded winter tyres were very noisy and because of the big tread patterns they would also over-heat. The over-heating was caused by sheer friction, between the tyre and the road surface and the sound they made was a constant drumming noise, inside the car. The friction also caused the remould tyres to separate; this is when the tread parts with the casing part of the tyre. This is often seen on our motorways, when a huge chunk of tyre treads strips off and is often left at the side of the road or the grass verge.
The first so-called winter tyre was invented as long ago as 1908 when a Frank Seiberling, cut an extra deep groove in an early tyre to discover that the tyre gave a better grip on a wintery road surface.
Nothing much happened after that until the first modern type of winter tyre was introduced by Nokian tyres of Finland, which was a range of winter truck tyres named as the “kelirengas” translated as “weather tyre”. This was in 1934 and in 1936 the Fins launched a winter tyre for cars which was known as the “Lumi-Hakkapelitta”.
Other winter tyres companies
were slow to follow, and did not really start to develop winter tyres until the early 1950,s. These included Goodyear tyres in America, who brought out the “Suburbanite” whose excellent early TV, advert can be seen on this blog post.
Also at the same time Continental tyres were bringing out a winter tyre known as the M14. These types of tyres were very heavy on tread rubber, but they are the beginning of the modern-day winter tyres that we see today. The main difference is that the tyre design has had to change to meet the demands of the modern car and more fundamentally the tyres now have added ingredients in their tread compounds that were not known about in the early days, primarily silca based compounds that now help the tyre to carry on flexing in cold temperatures.
Yokohama also make an excellent winter tyres the W drive winter as seen on this video.
Vredestien tyres from Holland were also a pioneer of the winter tyres, first bringing out the Snow + winter tyres in the 1960,s.
Wintertyres-yorkshire.co.uk has been set up as an informative web site about all tyre subjects and other stories of interest to the garage and auto-centre owner.
Hi I would like to introduce myself. I have worked in the Garage and tyre and I am MD for online battery company www.batteriesontheweb.co.uk. I have worked for a couple for national tyre companies in my younger days, before starting my first business. I now own a garage and MOT testing centre, here in the UK called Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre, and I am a keen blogger about anything to do with cars and their related products that will help my business. We are members of Point-S and Motor-Codes and are also a Unipart Car Care Centre and of course Tyre-safe.