Evolution of Tires

As the tire has evolved over the last 100 years, advances have been made in parallel with the development of automobiles. Since our beginning, Hankook has contributed to tire innovation and enhanced true driving emotion while putting emphasis on becoming one with the environment.

  • Solid Rubber Solution

    Composed of only firm rubber without
    the need for air, the solid rubber tire is used mostly
    for slow-speed vehicles because of
    its poor shock absorption ability.

  • 1888

    The Beginning of Tire History

    Gasoline Cars
    and the Pneumatic Tire

    In 1888, Benz invented the first gasoline car,
    equipped with unique metal tires covered with rubber and filled with air, resulting in the pneumatic tire. The public, which was accustomed to hard, metal tires, believed the pneumatic tire to be no less than revolutionary. Popular use of the pneumatic tire began in 1895 and it was featured in an automobile race from Paris to Bordeaux.

    The first gasoline car <Benz 1>
  • 1905

    Tread Tire

    The tread is the part of the tire that comes in direct contact with the road surface. Made out of thick rubber, the tread protects the carcass and breaker inside the tire. Road surface friction levels increased with the development of the tread tire, and today it is produced in a variety of patterns.

  • 1920

    The Development of Tire Materials

    Popularization of
    Automobiles and
    the Industrialization
    of Synthetic Rubber

    In late 1913, Henry Ford introduced the first
    conveyor belt assembly line to the world, marking the start of the first stage of automobile popularization.
    In 1931, the American company Du Pont successfully industrialized synthetic rubber.
    This development allowed the tire industry, which had been dependent on natural rubber, to increase tire quantity and quality,
    ushering in a turning point in tire production.

    Ford Model T
  • 1923

    Balloon Tire

    A type of low-pressure tire, the balloon tire is used in various types of automobiles
    to increase the area of road surface contact with its low internal air pressure.

  • 1940

    Tire Structure Development

    Structural Development of
    Automobiles and Tires
    to Save Fuel

    In order to relieve the burden of sky-high oil prices brought on by the oil shock, it became popular to reduce the size and weight of existing car models. Many manufacturers eventually employed the front-wheel drive method for their cars. With the development of the tubeless tires in 1903, the resulting weight reduction contributed significantly to the saving of fuel.

    Citroen Traction Avant
  • 1947

    Tubeless Tire


  • 1949

    Radial Tire

    First invented in the 1950s, the radial tire refers to a type of tire in which the cords are slightly slanted according to driving direction. Because of low road surface resistance levels, this is conducive to fuel saving.
    The radial tire also offers good drivability for high-speed travel because of its excellent adhesiveness to the road.

  • 1970

    Increased Tire Safety

    The Second Stage of Automobile
    Popularization and Safety

    After World War II, automobile production increased in accordance with the rapid development of auto technology, giving rise to the second stage of automobile popularization. Developed in 1979, the run-flat tire can be used at speeds up to 80 kmp/h without needing to change tires even in the event of a flat.

  • 1980

    Run-Flat Tire

    Even with scratches or holes caused due to obstacles or tire abrasion while driving, and the resulting decrease in air pressure, the run-flat tire is able to maintain a constant driving speed. It protects the driver from various accidents that can arise in emergency situations.

  • Increased Tire Performance

    Increased Tire Performance due to Development of the UHP Tire

    With the transformation of the automobile from an effective method of transportation into a symbol of personal financial power and freedom, people became increasingly interested in driving performance.
    Driving performance increased with the development of the UHP (Ultra High Performance) tire, which boasts superior cornering, drivability and braking, in accordance with the development of tire technology.

  • UHP Tire

    Born through tire technology development, the UHP tire boasts a rim diameter equal to or greater than 16 inches, a flatness ratio equal to or less than 55, and a V speed rating (highest speed of 240 kmph). It has reinforced braking ability, high-speed travel and cornering performance.

  • 2000

    Tires and the Environment

    The Development of
    the Eco Tuning Tire

    With increasing interest in environmental conservation, a variety of eco-friendly cars like the hydrogen car and electric car are being developed. Accordingly, tires that increase fuel saving and thus help protect the environment are also in development.

  • 2012

    The Future of Tires

    Non-Pneumatic Tires

    In 2012, Hankook developed an airless
    tire using a new type of material.
    The Non Pneumatic Tire (NPT) saves energy by reducing the production process by half.
    Created from a new type of uni-material,
    it can be reused or recycled.
    The NPT will be used for eco-friendly car models including hydrogen, electric and hybrid cars.



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