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Whether your engine is carbureted or fuel injected, whether your transmission is a 6-speed manual or an automatic, whether your Corvette is a coupe or a convertible, the fact remains: you’ve got to have tires that will support the car in order for you to have mobility. The fundamental materials of modern tires are rubber and fabric along with other compound chemicals. They consist of a tread and a body. The tread provides traction while the body ensures support. Before rubber was invented, the first versions of tires were simply bands of metal that fitted around wooden wheels in order to prevent wear and tear. Today, the vast majority of tires are pneumatic, comprising a doughnut- shaped body of cords and wires encased in rubber and generally filled with compressed air to form an inflatable cushion. Tires have come a long way since they first appeared on the scene. Here are some highlights in the history of tires for your edification: • Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber in 1844 that was later used for tires. • In 1888, John Dunlop invented the air-filled or pneumatic tires, however, his were for bicycles. • In 1895, André Michelin was the first person to use pneumatic tires on an automobile, however, not successfully. • In 1911, Philip Strauss invented the first successful tire, which was a combination tire and air filled inner tube. Strauss' company the Hardman Tire & Rubber Company marketed the tires • In 1903, P.W. Litchfield of the Goodyear Tire Company patented the first tubeless tire, however, it was never commercially exploited until the 1954 Packard. • In 1904, mountable rims were introduced that allowed drivers to fix their own flats. • In 1908, Frank Seiberling invented grooved tires with improved road traction. • In 1910, B.F. Goodrich Company invented longer life tires by adding carbon to the rubber. • Goodrich also invented the first synthetic rubber tires in 1937 made of a patented substance called Chemigum.