Winter Tyres a Brief History
Some manufacturers of winter tyres were slow to start
Of course, there is no doubt about that in recent times the winter tyres (as we know them today). Indeed, have taken off big style. Especially, with many motorists here in the UK.
Long ago, I can actually remember another window in time. So, when I was a tyre fitter. Consequently, for one of the national tyre companies. In a small town called Dewsbury, in Yorkshire UK. Subsequently, from what I can remember. So, we must have been going through a spell of cold winters . Because I can clearly remember that we were then fitting many winter tyres.
The tyres were mainly remould tyres
Because of the deep tread patterns ! So, the drivers did not want to run these tyres in the summer months. Strangely enough, tread compound were no different between summer an winter tyres. So, the winter tyres then were really summer tyres. Consequently, 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. Tyre remould companies would buy the old tyre molds from these companies . Using them to remould their tyres onto old casings.
The remoulded winter tyres were very noisy
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 wintry 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 silica based compounds that now help the tyre to carry on flexing in cold temperatures.
General also make an excellent winter tyres the W drive winter as seen on this video.
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