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You are here -> HOME - RETROVILLE - 1953 - Fads & Fashion - Radial Tires
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Welcome to Retroville! It's 1953!
In 1953, the radial tire burst onto the scene.  After years of research and development, the new tube-less tires quickly became the tire of choice for American drivers.

Radial tires remain in use and are under constant research and development for new tread patterns, stronger materials, safer construction, and longer wear. But do you know how a radial tire is made? Let us help you...

Raw chemicals like sulfur, carbon black, and solvents are combined with natural and synthetic rubber. The entire concoction is put into a large machine called a "banbury." In the banbury, the rubber is heated to make it workable. When the heated rubber emerges from the banbury, it is in long, flat bands. Then it's time to head to the rolling mill...

The tread rubber is extruded, measured, cooled, and cut to length.

The sidewalls are extruded along with white rubber for a white sidewall or white lettering, as appropriate.

The ply is produced in a mill that combines thin sheets of rubber and nylon or polyester. The sheets are cut to width, rolled, and sent to the assembly area.

While the rubber and ply are being constructed, fine steel wire is worked to form the steel belts. The steel belts are combined with rubber from the mills, cut on the bias, rolled, and sent to the assembly area.

The innerliner (the part on the inside that creates the airtight seal when fitted to the vehicle wheel) is created next. When completed, cut, and finished, it is sent to the assembly area.

The last part of the tire is the bead. Beads are made from wrapped steel wire, covered with rubber, and formed into hoops.  The bead is what anchors the fabric plies of the tire and seats the tire on the wheel.  When completed, the bead goes off to the assembly area.

With the six components completed--tread, ply, belts, sidewalls, liner, and beads--it all goes together on a tire-building machine. The six components are assembled in three steps into what is known as a "green tire":

  • The "carcass" of the tire including beads, plies, sidewalls, and liner is constructed on one side of the tire-building machine;
  • The tread and steel belts are assembled next to the carcass on the other side of the machine; and
  • The two subassemblies are then joined together and the result is a green tire.

The final phase is "vulcanization." Vulcanization is the molecular transformation of the soft, gummy "green tire" into the tough, longwearing, modern passenger tire. The green tire is placed in a curing mold and subjected to intense pressure and high heat internally and externally for a carefully determined period of time. Simultaneously, the tread pattern is imprinted into the rubber.

When the vulcanized tire comes out of the mold, it's is ready for final finishing (trimming of excess rubber) and inspection.

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