Saturday, January 29, 2011

Key engineering advance #2: Pneumatic tires

J.B. Dunlop invented the air-filled rubber 'tyre'. At this point in history, it's still an advance for bicyclists. But old J.B.'s beard is already pure badass biker...
Early bicycles were called “bone shakers” because they ran on steel-shod wooden wheels. Considering that most roads of the period were paved with cobblestones, the name was an understatement. At about the same time as the safety frame bicycle made riding safe, an Irish veterinarian named Dunlop (yes, that Dunlop) invented the air-filled rubber tire, making bicycles reasonably comfortable.

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