Tire Industry Hall of Fame Spotlight: Robert William Thomson

Nov. 4, 2022

New Tire Industry Hall of Fame inductee, the late Robert William Thomson, is recognized by many as being the inventor of the pneumatic tire, earning the first patents for the design in 1845.

Thomson tested his air-filled tire in the streets of London, England, conducting experiments on grip and skidding, as well as load.

A set of his tires ran for 1,200 miles without showing signs of deterioration, according to the Tire Industry Association (TIA).

“His tires actually went into commercial production, but the cost – coupled with lack of suitable supplies of thin rubber and the lack of a ready market – meant they were not a commercial success. There were no automobiles at the time and even the bicycle industry was in its infancy. But Thomson never gave up” on his invention.

“His own carriage was still fitted with them … at the time of his death.”

Thomson was inducted into the Tire Industry Hall of Fame earlier this week at a TIA-sponsored event.