Spokeless Air Wheels Coming Auto Style (Jun, 1931)

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Spokeless Air Wheels Coming Auto Style

LATEST rumors in Detroit and Akron indicate that there will be a radical change in tire styles before many more auto shows come and go, and that with this change will also come entirely new chassis and body designs.

The newest thing in auto tires has been under laboratory and actual operating tests for many months. Up to the present time every effort has been made to keep these tests as secret as possible. However, the results of the road tests have been so astounding that some brief news of this latest development in the auto industry was bound to leak out. The date on which the new tire will be brought before the automobile trade and the public has not yet been announced, but it is expected that it will be introduced just as soon as factory facilities will allow.

To the layman, the obvious difference in this new tire (known in tire circles as the Musselman type) and those that he now uses on his car, is that this new tire needs no wheel on which to mount it. The tire uses the hub for a rim and is a complete wheel in itself; consequently, all the space from the hub to the outside diameter of the tire is air space. This tremendous air capacity allows extremely low pressures.

A comparison with present air pressures is shown in the following table: Present Pressures Pressures with Musselman type tires

35 lbs. – 7 lbs.

40 lbs. – 10 lbs.

45 lbs. or over – 15 lbs.

This low air pressure, of course, gives addiitional riding comfort, taking the bumps out of the road to a still greater extent than do the present day balloon tires. It also gives a greatly increased contact area so that the danger of skidding on wet and slippery pavements is practically eliminated.

The advantages of the Musselman type tire for airplane use are all well known. Its low pressure makes it a perfect cushion or shock absorber for landing. But it was not until experiments were made with motor vehicles that the manufacturers realized that this new type of tire would in all probability revolutionize the tire and auto industry.

  1. Stephen says: December 24, 20097:01 am

    For everyday use, a low-pressure tyre like that would create a lot of friction, so it would be inefficient. For use on very soft ground, though, it has advantages. The Rolligon system uses exactly this approach:

  2. jayessell says: December 24, 200912:33 pm

    The WWII Ducks (http://en.wikipedia.org…)
    Could vary the air pressure to the tires depending
    on the surface texture.
    High for paved roads, low for mud and sand.

    Later versions had compressed air connections to each hub
    so the driver could change tire pressure quickly.

    Anecdotally, when some Japanese saw landing boats start driving
    onto the beach of an occupied island, they were surprised.

  3. John Savard says: December 24, 20095:33 pm

    Even if we don’t inflate our tires to only 10 pounds pressure, cars now do have tires which connect to the hub, and which aren’t on wheels with spokes like those of a bicycle. So this story is about the change from tires as they were on old antique cars to the kind of modern tire we use today.

  4. Toronto says: December 24, 20096:38 pm

    I’m pretty sure I first saw these in a Donald Duck cartoon.

  5. Nomen Nescio says: December 24, 200910:44 pm

    you had to go and link to the DUKW, didn’t you? now it’ll be all week before i quit wanting one. dammit.

  6. Firebrand38 says: December 25, 200912:55 am

    Nomen Nescio: Here’s a link to DUKWs http://www.dukw.com/for…

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