Today in Automotive History
1923 Tires Balloon
Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio, began balloon-tire production. The company had previously experimented with large-section, thin-walled tires with small bead diameters for special purposes, but none had been put on the commercial market.
Firestone had become the country's largest producer of tires when it received the contract to supply Henry Ford's Model T's with tires. The company remained on top of the tire industry, challenged for supremacy only by Goodyear.
Balloon tires provided better handling and a smoother ride for car drivers. In balloon tires an inner tube is fitted inside the tire and inflated.
With Firestone's innovation came the era of the flat tire. Sure, people had problems with their cars before 1923; but none had yet enjoyed the pleasure of standing by the roadside watching their hissing tire deflate along with their hopes of arriving on time.