Riding on Steel Springs: Germany’s Innovative Response to a Rubber Shortage – Design You Trust — Design Daily Since 2007

Riding on Steel Springs: Germany’s Innovative Response to a Rubber Shortage


Let’s delve into the fascinating history of the tire, which began to gather significant momentum with the invention and subsequent popularization of tires in 1895, thanks largely to Michelin L’Éclaire – the first vehicle to be outfitted with them.

h/t: vintag.es


The creation of tires as we know them today wouldn’t have been possible without two groundbreaking innovations – Charles Goodyear’s rubber vulcanization process in 1839 and Dunlop’s invention of the inner tube in 1887. These two components, rubber and air, have been instrumental in shaping the modern tire industry.


There’s a little-known chapter in the tire’s history, however, which could hold the key to its future. During the early 20th century, World War I led to a shortage of rubber and posed difficulties in inflating tires with air. To address these issues, the Germans, in 1916, ingeniously engineered a steel spring tire for a vehicle called Protos. This innovation proved to be more reliable than rubber tires and was promptly employed in military vehicles as a top priority. The story of the tire is not just a journey through time, but also a testament to human ingenuity in overcoming challenges and looking to the future.

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