Jump to content

Why Were Early Tires White?


Recommended Posts

I've never read why early tires were white. I realize they were made of natural rubber, but a tint would seem practical to hide dirt. Also, isn't natural rubber is a sort of light tan color, and not pure white? Did they add something to the rubber to get that white tint?



natural rubber

Edited by MochetVelo (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Natural rubber needed some kind of additive for wear resistance and structural strength. Zinc oxide ( yes the stuff that gets put on noses as sunscreen) was used and it made the tires almost white, really still a bit off white gray light tan. Iron ozide ( rust) was used too and those tires and tubes are dark pinkish red. Next came carbon, it is still used because it worked well and was the cheapest. In old time black and white pictures the red tires can be mistaken for white or black. There were many color combinations, black tires with red walls for instance!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest bkazmer

there was a brief foray in colored tires later for cosmetic reasons, but as stated carbon black is cheap and reinforcing. Most of the tire stopped being natural rubber long ago because it doesn't wear well in the tread area.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An old timer who worked in garages in the twenties told me those "white" tires started out light gray when they were new and gradually got whiter. The explanation above makes sense.

Red tires were fairly common on horse drawn buggies in the 1890s and early 1900s. These were made of solid rubber, not pumped up.

Around 1915 Goodyear made red streak and blue streak tires with red and blue sidewalls respectively. In the late sixties they revived the red stripe tire.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...