ITíS THE HEART OF YOUR TIRES
by John L. Campbell
What part on your
automobile hasnít changed its design in over 100 years? Sounds
like a good trivia question, doesnít it? The answer: itís the
tire valve. Whether your tires are tubeless or have a tube, thereís
a tire valve on every wheel, a design patented in 1898.
The Duryea brothers
were the first car manufacturers in America to put pneumatic tires
on their horse-less carriage; and if it hadnít been for the
invention of the tire valve by August Schrader and his son,
George, there wouldnít have been an air-tight seal to keep the
tires from going flat over time. The Schrader-valve has been an
American standard for 102 consecutive years and a world standard
for more than 76 years. George Schrader is credited with the
pioneering effort and experimental work that resulted in patents
issued for the current housing design with its removable and
interchangeable core and cap.
The late David
Beecroft, former president of the Society of Automotive Engineers,
said, "Tire valve
development is deservedly the ace of automotive standardization.
The valve interior or core of today fits the valve housing of l898
with equal facility and the removable valve core and the cap with
the tire valve housing comprise the only standard in world-wide
use in the automotive industry."
If August Schrader
hadnít setup his machine shop in Manhattan within a few blocks
of Charles Goodyearís
rubber vulcanizing plant, the two geniuses might never have met.
rubber vulcanizing in l839 and August Schrader arrived in New York
from Hanover, Germany, a year later. Four years after Schraderís
arrival in America, the industrious German started his own
company. With over thirty rubber depots and warehouses in
Manhattan Schrader found himself immersed in the new growth
industry. To accommodate the needs of these rubber manufacturers
Schrader machined molds and brass fittings for companies like
Goodyear and Union India Rubber Company.
In l890, after some
English cyclists outclassed all competition with their cushioned
pneumatic tires at a race in Niagara Falls, one of the early tire
manufacturers asked Schrader to develop an air-tight seal for
pneumatic tires. Two years later Schrader and his son, George,
applied for their first patent on the Schrader tire valve,
improvements of which became the standard for the world and the
nucleus for their companyís success.
The tiny valve cores are machined
from brass rod and chrome plated. According to Mike Doster, a
design engineer, seven different sizes of valve inserts for todayís tubeless
tires and a couple dozen different lengths are made. "But, theyíre
all basically the same design, which hasnít changed in over 100
© 1999 John L. Campbell ∑ 17800A Caribou Pass ∑ Brookfield, WI 53045-2041∑ (414)790-2670∑ FAX (414)790-2690
Not to be copied or used in any manner without express written permission of the author.