(Warning! A big one which can put you to sleep.)

Our subject is pneumatic tires. One may think that there is no need to go in details about vehicle development. But we feel there is a need for it.

Inventions are of several types. We know about accidental invention. History has many such inventions including Goodyear’s finding Sulphur can make rubber an elastic product by linking rubber molecules. There are quite a lot of need based inventions.

Discomfort lead to invention of tires using air as a medium for carrying load. Subsequent developments and corresponding improvements made us to realize what a great finding it was.

We saw just a few years back ‘drones’ as a toy. Now many are thinking of using it for delivery of goods to the doorstep. Hospitals thinking of using it as an emergency transport, Hyundai used it for delivering a car and the list is endless. It may not be a wonder within a decade people start going to office using drones.

We saw how the pneumatic tires were invented as bicycle was not comfortable for use without that.

Then next step of motorizing it was not difficult because already many were working in that aspect as its need was felt in many areas. Steam power was already used for that. We will see the development of motorized vehicles such as motor cycles, cars, trucks, planes etc. briefly and pneumatic tires for them came into existence. First about motorized vehicles.

Urge to move is there in all living things. Even the trees and plants extend their roots and branches as far as possible. Humans moved out of necessity as well as curiosity. He moved on his own and then have learnt to use horses, camels etc.

Homo Sapien invented the wheels as we saw. This led to series of development like making use of the horses, camels and even elephants with them for his movement as well as materials he needed.

First carts and chariots came into use. As said they helped not only to move things needed but for his movement too. This made him realize need of proper road for faster and comfortable journey. The Romans were the first to understand the need for better roads. So, they connected the entire country with a huge highway network. Roman roads were soft base underneath to drain away water and a harder top made from a patchwork of tight-fitting rocks. But this was not the case everywhere and they rose and fell with Roman Empire.

There was no further significant development from the point of view vehicles till towards the end of the Middle Ages.

It had the three key parts of a modern car- a. an engine (spinning windmill sails)

b. a set of wheels, and

c. gears to transfer power between them.

The Italian inventor and painter, Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) scribbled some designs for a clockwork car. Like a giant watch, it was supposed to be powered by springs that would drive the wheels through a system of interlocking gears. Even though nothing really happened using these ideas, the self-powered vehicle was slowly coming together and the days of the horse seemed numbered.

Chariots of fire

The first working steam-powered vehicle was designed—and most likely built—by Ferdinand Verbiest, a Flemish member of a Jesuit mission in China around 1672. It was a 65-cm-long scale-model toy for the Chinese Emperor that was unable to carry a driver or a passenger. It is not known if Verbiest's model was ever built.

The real major development came in 1712 when Mr. Thomas Newcomen built a massive machine for pumping rainwater out of coal mines. It was based around a huge 2-m (7-ft) high metal cylinder with a piston inside that could move up and down like the plunger in a bicycle pump.

Every so often, steam from a boiler (a sort of gigantic coal-fired kettle) squirted into the space in the cylinder underneath the piston. Then cold- water was squirted in to make the steam condense, creating a partial vacuum directly under the piston. Since the air pressure in the space above the piston was now greater than that in the space beneath it, the piston moved down. When the vacuum was released, the piston rose back up again. The rising and falling piston operated a pump that slowly sucked the water from the mine.

James Watt, a Scotsman redesigned Newcomen's engine so that it was much smaller and more powerful. Where Newcomen's piston had simply tipped a beam up and down, Watt's turned wheels and gears.

Such engines soon became the powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution and people did away with horses for operating pumps and other machines. Coal seemed to be the fuel of the future.

But steam engines were still too big for use in vehicles, but people continued trying.

In 1769, Frenchman Nicholas Joseph Cugnot (1725–1804) used steam-engine technology to make a lumbering, three-wheeled tractor for pulling heavy army cannons.

Many people consider this the world's first car, but it was incredibly primitive by today's standards. With a top speed of just 5 km/h (3mph), you would have thought it posed little danger. But the "fardier à vapeur" (steam wagon) was heavy and hard to steer and, just two years later, the first ever car had the first ever car crash when Cugnot rammed it through a brick wall. He was thrown in jail.

Steam engines were soon finding their way into other heavy vehicles.

In the early 1800s, Cornishman Richard Trevithick (1771–1833) started building steam carriages with wobbly 3-m (10-ft) diameter wheels. William Murdoch had developed and demonstrated a model steam carriage, starting in 1784, and demonstrated it to Trevithick at his request in 1794. In fact, Trevithick lived next door to Murdoch in Redruth in 1797 and 1798.

Trevithick was the first to make high-pressure steam work in England. Not only would a high-pressure steam engine eliminate the condenser, but it would allow the use of a smaller cylinder, saving space and weight. He reasoned that his engine could now be more compact, lighter and small enough to carry its own weight even with a carriage attached.

Around this time, Trevithick's American counterpart Oliver Evans (1755–1819) built an ambitious steam-powered river digger called the Oruktor Amphibolos that could drive on either land or water. Belching fire and smoke like a dragon, it caused a sensation as it chugged down the Philadelphia streets in 1804.

His improvised brother is in use even now in Philadelphia and many other places. It is called ‘Duck Bus.’ In US wherever lake or sea is there this has become a tourist attraction now.

The first practical steam locomotive was built in 1812-13 by John Blenkinshop. Built by George Stephenson and his Robert Stephenson and Company. The Locomotion No.1 is the first steam locomotive to carry passengers on a public rail line, the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825.

Similarly designed “road steamers” were running regular passenger routes in England. However, the strict British highway regulations ended such transits in 1840. But it only created a demand.

But vehicles with steam engines did not come on roads because roads were used by pedestrians, animal drawn vehicles etc. and law restricted or altogether refused to allow powered fast vehicles on the road. So only a very few paid attention, to the aspect of developing for road.

Both Trevithick and Evans ultimately switched their attention to making steam trains, but another Cornish inventor, Goldsworthy Gurney (1793–1875), was convinced the idea of steam road vehicles need to have legs. Quite literally. He designed an early steam carriage that would gallop along on rickety pins, just like a horse. When Gurney realized wheels could do the job much better, he built impressive steam buses and ran a service between London and Bath. Ultimately, he was driven out of business by horse-powered stage coaches, which were faster and cheaper. It is something like BR Chopra’s Naya Daur acted by Dlip Kumar and Vyjayanthi Mala.

John Scott Russell (1808–1882) also had to close a promising steam-coach business when one of his buses exploded on 29 July 1834, killing four passengers. It was the world's first fatal car accident. Horses everywhere must have breathed a huge sigh of relief: they'd been around for many years yet. But that was short lived when a clever bunch of scientists showed up.

Main problem was lack of proper road. Roman roads were gone with them. But a mechanized vehicle has lot of advantages over a horse driven vehicle. It doesn't eat grass, wear shoes, or leave a steaming pile of muck wherever it goes. The engineers who set out to make the first cars had a big problem on their hands: how to squeeze the power of a galloping horse into a small, reliable engine.

This tricky problem taxed the best minds of the day. The experiments with steam had been the first attempt to solve it, but though coal-powered steam engines were excellent for pulling trains, they weren't so good in cars. Apart from the clunking great engine itself, one had to carry a mini-mountain of coal and a tank full of water. Some ingenious Europeans started searching for better fuels and more compact engines. They were a mixture of "thinkers" and "doers".

Christiaan Huygens

The engineers were inspired by brilliant Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens (1629–1695), who had the laser-like mind of Isaac Newton and the inventing ability of Leonardo da Vinci. He made many astronomical discoveries, invented the mathematics of probability, made the first pendulum clock, invented a musical keyboard, and discovered that light travels like a wave. In the late 17th century, Huygens had an idea for an engine that made power by exploding gunpowder in a tube. Unfortunately, he was way ahead of his time: engineering wasn't yet good enough for him actually to build this machine. If it had been, the world might have had cars almost 200 years earlier!

Sadi Carnot

Next up was a French army engineer called Nicolas Leonard Sadi Carnot (1796–1832), who wrote the original book of car science, Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire, in 1824. It was the first proper explanation of how engines worked, why they made power, and how you could make them even more effective. Carnot's ideas are now considered brilliant, but they were published over 100 years after the first steam engines had already been built. What use was science when it came a century after the inventions it tried to explain?

Joseph Étienne Lenoir

Huygens' idea to capture the power of a small explosion was what the "doers" seized on. A French-Belgian engineer called Joseph Étienne Lenoir (1822–

1900) was tinkering with electricity in the 1850s when he took the next step. In those days, street lamps were naked flames fed by gas pipes. Lenoir wondered what would happen if he could ignite some of this street-lamp gas in a metal tin using an electric spark. His "spark plug" (as we now call it) would make the gas explode with a thump of power that could push a piston. If he could repeat this process again and again, he could drive a machine. The "gas engines" Lenoir built made as much power as 1.5 horses and were soon being built by the dozen. In 1863, Lenoir fixed one of them to a three-wheeled cart and built a very crude car. It made an 18-km (9-mile) journey in

11 hours—four times longer than it would have taken to walk.

Nikolaus August Otto

Lenoir died a miserable pauper because his engines, though revolutionary, were soon obsolete. Gas was a cleaner fuel than coal, but it wasn't practical—there was even a risk it would explode and kill people. Gasoline (a liquid fuel) proved to be a better bet, as German Nikolaus Otto (1832–1891) discovered. Otto was no scientific thinker—far from it: he was a traveling grocery salesman who taught himself engineering. During the 1860s, he tinkered with various engine designs and, in 1876, finally came up with a really, efficient gasoline engine, which worked by methodically repeating the same four steps (or "strokes") over and over again. Virtually every car engine has worked the same way ever since.

In 1880 Trouvé improved the efficiency of a small electric motor developed by Siemens and using the recently developed rechargeable battery, fitted it to an English James Starley tricycle, so inventing the world’s first electric vehicle. Although this was successfully tested on April 19, 1881 along the Rue Valois in central Paris, he was unable to patent it. Trouvé swiftly adapted his battery-powered motor to marine propulsion; to make it easy to carry his marine conversion to and from his workshop to the nearby River Seine, Trouvé made it portable and removable from the boat, thus inventing the outboard engine. On May 26, 1881, the 5m Trouvé prototype, called Le Téléphone reached a speed of 1 m/s (3,6 km/h) going upstream et 2,5 m/s (9 km/h) downstream.

Karl and Bertha Benz

Although several other German engineers (including Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach, and Siegfried Marcus) were working on the problem at about the same time, Karl Benz generally is acknowledged as the inventor of the modern car.

German engineer Karl Benz (1844–1929) studied Otto's work and determined to do better. After building a simpler gasoline engine of his own, he fixed it to a three-wheeled carriage and made the world's first practical gas-powered car in 1885.

No-one took much notice—until Benz's feisty wife Bertha and their two young sons

"borrowed" the car one day without asking and set off for a 100-km (65-mile) journey to see grandma. They bought fuel at drug stores (chemist's shops), because gas stations had yet to be invented, and the boys had to get out every so often to push the car up hills. Bertha even had to stop a couple of times to make repairs with her hair pin and garter belt. News of this intrepid early test-drive caught the public's imagination; Benz couldn't have dreamed up a better publicity stunt if he'd tried. He took his wife's advice and added gears for uphill driving. Soon he was developing successful four-wheel cars and, by the start of the 20th century, was the world's leading car maker.

Thanks to his wife's test drive, Karl Benz added gears to his car to make it easier to drive up hills.

His first Motorwagen was built in 1885 in Mannheim, Germany. He was awarded the patent for its invention as of his application on 29 January 1886 (under the auspices of his major company, Benz & Cie., which was founded in 1883). Benz began promotion of the vehicle on 3 July 1886, and about 25 Benz vehicles were sold between 1888 and 1893, when his first four-wheeler was introduced along with a model intended for affordability. They also were powered with four-stroke engines of his own design. Emile Roger of France, already producing Benz engines under license, now added the Benz car to his line of products. Because France was more open to the early cars, initially more were built and sold in France through Roger than Benz sold in Germany.

In August 1888 Bertha Benz undertook the first road trip by car, to prove the road-worthiness of her husband's invention.

In 1896, Benz designed and patented the first internal-combustion flat engine, called boxermotor. During the last years of the nineteenth century, Benz was the largest car company in the world with 572 units produced in 1899 and, because of its size, Benz & Cie., became a joint-stock company.

The first motor car in central Europe and one of the first factory-made cars in the world, was produced by Czech company Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau (later renamed to Tatra) in 1897, the Präsident automobil.

Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach

Benz soon found himself up against Gottlieb Daimler (1834–1900) and Wilhelm Maybach (1846–1929), who worked for Nikolaus Otto, until Otto and Daimler fell out. Setting up their own firm, Daimler and Maybach experimented with a giant gasoline engine nicknamed the Grandfather Clock (because it was tall and upright). After shrinking it down to size, they bolted it to a wooden bicycle and made the world's first motorbike. By 1889, they were building cars.

Daimler and Maybach founded Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft in Cannstatt in 1890, and sold their first car in 1892 under the brand name Daimler. It was a horse-drawn stagecoach built by another manufacturer, which they retrofitted with an engine of their design. By 1895 about 30 vehicles had been built by Daimler and Maybach, either at the Daimler works or in the Hotel Hermann, where they set up shop after disputes with their backers.

Ten years later, the Daimler company named a car "Mercedes" in honor of Mercedes Jellinek, the daughter of one of their customers and dealers, Emil Jellinek (1853–1918).

The Daimler and Benz companies were rivals until the 1920s, when they merged to make Daimler-Benz and began selling cars under the name Mercedes-Benz.

In 1890, Émile Levassor and Armand Peugeot of France began producing vehicles with Daimler engines, and so laid the foundation of the automotive industry in France. In 1891, Auguste Doriot and his Peugeot colleague Louis Rigoulot completed the longest trip by a gasoline-powered vehicle when their self-designed and built Daimler powered Peugeot Type 3 completed 2,100 km (1,300 miles) from Valentigney to Paris and Brest and back again. They were attached to the first Paris–Brest–Paris bicycle race, but finished 6 days after the winning cyclist, Charles Terront.

The first design for an American car with a gasoline internal combustion engine was made in 1877 by George Selden of Rochester, New York. Selden applied for a patent for a car in 1879, but the patent application expired because the vehicle was never built. After a delay of sixteen years and a series of attachments to his application, on 5 November 1895, Selden was granted a United States patent (U.S. Patent 549,160) for a two-stroke car engine, which hindered, more than encouraged, development of cars in the United States. His patent was challenged by Henry Ford and others, and overturned in 1911.

In 1893, the first running, gasoline powered American car was built and road-tested by the Duryea brothers of Springfield, Massachusetts. The first public run of the Duryea Motor Wagon took place on 21 September 1893, on Taylor Street in Metro Center Springfield. The Studebaker Automobile Company, subsidiary of a long-established wagon and coach manufacturer, started to build cars in 1897and commenced sales of electric vehicles in 1902 and gasoline vehicles in 1904.

In Britain, there had been several attempts to build steam cars with varying degrees of success, with Thomas Rickett even attempting a production run in 1860. Santler from Malvern is recognized by the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain as having made the first gasoline-powered car in the country in 1894, followed by Frederick William Lanchester in 1895, but these were both one-offs. The first production vehicles in Great Britain came from the Daimler Company, a company founded by Harry J. Lawson in 1896, after purchasing the right to use the name of the engines. Lawson's company made its first car in 1897, and they bore the name Daimler.

Rudolf Diesel

Rudolf Diesel (1858–1913) was both a thinker and a doer. Confined to hospital after an accident, he spent months poring over books and papers by people like Carnot and Otto. He soon came to the conclusion that he could build a far better engine than the puny gasoline machines Benz and Daimler had designed and knocked up a prototype, an enormous 3-m (10-ft) high machine, in the early 1890s. This first diesel engine made twice as much power as a similar steam engine and, even more remarkably, could run on practically any fuel at all—even oil made from peanuts and vegetables. Diesel, in other words, was a pioneer of biofuels long before people had a name for them.

In 1892, German engineer Rudolf Diesel was granted a patent for a "New Rational Combustion Engine". In 1897, he built the first diesel engine.[1] Steam-, electric-, and gasoline-powered vehicles competed for decades, with gasoline internal combustion engines achieving dominance in the 1910s. Although various pistonless rotary engine designs have attempted to compete with the conventional piston and crankshaft design, only Mazda's version of the Wankel engine has had more than very limited success.

Diesel was convinced of his genius and certain his engine would change the world, but he never lived to see the success he'd earned. In September 1913, while traveling from Germany to England on the mail ship SS Dresden, he fell overboard and drowned. Some people think he was murdered by German or French secret agents to stop him selling the secrets of his engines to the English in the run up to World War I, which broke out the following year.

Mass production

The assembly line style of mass production and interchangeable parts had been pioneered in the U.S. by Thomas Blanchard in 1821, at the Springfield Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts.

In August 1897, Ransom E. Olds, founded the Olds Motor Vehicle Company in Lansing, Michigan. In 1899, Smith was one of the founders of the new Olds Motor Works. Smith together with his father and Henry Russel provided the financial backing for the new venture, which was moved from Lansing to Detroit. Smith's father became the company's president, with Ransom Olds as general manager and Frederic Smith as secretary and treasurer.

By 1901 Olds had built 11 prototype vehicles, including at least one of each power mode: steam, electricity and gasoline. He was the only American automotive pioneer to produce and sell at least one of each mode of automobile.

On March 9, 1901, the Olds Motor Works factory burned to the ground. Only one model, the little Curved Dash runabout, was saved from the flames. Ransom Olds claimed it was the fire that made him select the runabout, from among his many other models, to put into production. His biographer questions the veracity of this story. He points to an Olds advertising blitz that had already led to more than 300 Curved Dash orders even before the fire took place. "Olds did not need the one rescued car from which to reconstruct the plans and patterns for the runabout."

Later that year, Olds had his company's test driver, Roy Chapin, drive a Curved Dash runabout to the second annual New York Automobile Show. Along the way, Chapin opted to drive up onto the Erie Canal tow path to escape the mire of New York state roads. After eight days of driving, he reached the Waldorf Astoria hotel but was turned away at the door. His mud-spattered attire was so disreputable that he was sent to the servants' entrance in back.

During the auto show his employer, Ransom Olds, pushed hard to make sales. When one dealer offered to purchase 500, Olds retorted, "I would like to see you make this order for a thousand cars. Then the public would drop its jaw and take notice." The deal was signed, and though the dealer ended up selling only 750 to the public, it was the original number that everyone remembered.

The Curved Dash Oldsmobile sold for $650, equal to $18,712 today. About 600 were sold in 1901, about 3,000 in 1902 and at least 4,000 in 1904. It was this car, rather than Henry Ford's Model T, that was the first mass-produced, low-priced American motor vehicle.

As Smith's son, Frederic L. Smith, came into the business, he and Olds clashed frequently until Fred Smith removed Olds from the position of vice president and general manager in 1904 and Olds left his company. He went on to form the R.E. Olds Motor Car Company. Its name was quickly changed to REO Motor Car Company to avoid a lawsuit from the Olds Motor Works. The name REO came from the initials of his name as an acronym. Olds served as president (until 1925) and later chairman of REO.

The Olds Motor Works was bought by General Motors in 1908. General Motors discontinued the Oldsmobile brand in 2004, after a production run of 96 years.

Olds was the first person to use a stationary assembly line in the automotive industry. Henry Ford came after him, and was the first to use a moving assembly line to manufacture cars. This new approach to putting together automobiles enabled Olds to more than quintuple his factory’s output, from 425 cars in 1901 to 2,500 in 1902.

Henry Ford

This concept was greatly expanded by Henry Ford, beginning in 1913 with the world's first moving assembly line for cars at the Highland Park Ford Plant.

By the start of the 20th century, gasoline-engined cars were fast, reliable, and exciting. They were also stupidly expensive. In 1893, Karl Benz's simple, Viktoria car had a price tag of £9000 (more than £50,000 today) and hardly anyone could afford one—he sold just 45. Car makers stuck with big, expensive cars, so customers stuck with their horses and carts. Then a bold American engineer called Henry Ford (1863-1947) came along and decided things had to be different.

Ford was no scientist, but he'd been repairing watches and tinkering with machines since he was a boy. Never afraid of rolling up his sleeves, he loved machinery and understood it instinctively. His first car was little more than a four-wheel motorbike that he called the Quadricycle. When he took it on the streets of Detroit in 1896, horses bolted in all directions..

Ford must have been delighted: he had no time for horses. Aged 14, he'd been thrown from the saddle of a colt, caught his foot in the stirrups, and dragged home along the ground. A few years later, he'd been seriously injured when his bolting horse and cart tried to smash through a fence. Now was the time to settle those scores.

Ford loved machines and hated horses, so he hatched a simple plan: he'd make the simplest possible "horseless carriage" and he'd make it in such enormous quantities, in only one color, that he could sell it cheaply to a huge number of people. It took him 12 years to get things right. In fact, he made eight different models (named A, B, C, F, N, R, S, and K) before he finally came up with a winner, the Model T, launched in 1908—a car everyone could afford. Around 15 million Model T Fords were eventually sold and a delighted (and very rich) Henry Ford scribbled in his notebook: "The horse is DONE".

Phaeton (~1890-1900): The phaeton (a sporty, four-wheel carriage) sacrifices a bit of speed for comfort: it has suspension under the wheels to smooth the ride. The "dashboard" protects the passengers from stones and muck the horses kick back as they dash along. It has a top speed of 16 km/h (10 mph)

Ford's Quadricyle (1896): Ford's first car is not so much a "horseless carriage" as a horse crossed with a carriage: it has its own gasoline engine and fuel tank and four bicycle wheels instead of four legs. Its top speed of 32 km/h (20 mph) is only a third of a horse's.

Model T Ford (1908): Ford's Model-T combines speed, practicality, and simplicity. Its 20-horsepower gasoline engine can race to speeds of 72 km/h

(45 mph)—still slower than a galloping horse. The only thing it can't do is jump fences.

The Assembly Line

Normally things get more expensive over time—but Ford's pint-sized miracle car, the Model T, dropped in price from $850 when it was launched in 1908 to just $260 in1925. The secret was mass-production: making the car from simple, easy-to-fit parts in huge quantities. Other car makers used small groups of mechanics to build entire cars very slowly. By 1913, Ford was building cars at his new Highland Park factory in a completely different way using a moving "assembly line". Model Ts were gradually assembled on a conveyor that inched past a series of workers. Each mechanic was trained to do only one job and worked briefly on each car as it passed by. Then the vehicle moved on, someone else did another bit, and the whole car magically came together. The first year Ford used his assembly line, production of the Model T leaped from 82,000 to 189,000. By 1923, Ford's giant River Rouge factory was making 2 million cars a year.

Since the 1920s, nearly all cars have been mass-produced to meet market needs, so marketing plans often have heavily influenced car design. It was Alfred P. Sloan who established the idea of different makes of cars produced by one company, called the General Motors Companion Make Program, so that buyers could "move up" as their fortunes improved.

People’s wagon: 1940s: Germany

German dictator Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) gave Henry Ford a medal for making cars affordable. Inspired by the Model-T Ford, Hitler asked German auto-maker Dr. Ferdinard Porsche to develop a simple people's car or "Volks Wagen" called the KDF (Kraft durch Freude or Strength through Joy). Renamed as Beetle, it sold over 20 million worldwide and was one of the most popular cars of the 20th century.


A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo and a important one for a tire person. They demand strong, long lasting and durable tires.

So, from Wikipedia most available are reproduced here.

There are varieties of trucks varying greatly in size, power, and configuration; smaller varieties be mechanically similar to some auto- mobiles. Commercial trucks can be very large and powerful, and may be configured to mount specialized equipment, such as in the case of fire trucks and concrete mixers and suction excavators.

Modern trucks are largely powered by diesel engines, although small to medium size trucks with gasoline engines exist in the US. In the European Union, vehicles with a gross combination mass of up to 3.5 t (7,700 lb) are known as light commercial vehicles, and those over as large goods vehicles.

Steam wagon

Trucks and cars have a common ancestor: the steam powered fardier Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built in 1769. However, steam wagons were not common until the mid-1800s. The roads of the time, built for horse and carriages, limited these vehicles to very short hauls, usually from a factory to the nearest railway station. The first semi-trailer appeared in 1881, towed by a steam tractor manufactured by De Dion-Bouton. Steam-powered wagons were sold in France and the United States until the eve of World War I, and 1935 in the United Kingdom, when a change in road tax rules made them uneconomic against the new diesel lorries.

Internal combustion

In 1895 Karl Benz designed and built the first truck in history using the internal combustion engine. Later that year some of Benz's trucks were modified to become the first bus by the Netphener, the first motorbus company in history. A year later, in 1896, another internal combustion engine truck was built by Gottlieb Daimler. Other companies, such as Peugeot, Renault and Büssing, also built their own versions. The first truck in the United States was built by Autocar in 1899 and was available with optional 5 or 8 horsepower motors.

Trucks of the era mostly used two-cylinder engines and had a carrying capacity of 3,300 to 4,400 lb (1.5 to 2 t). In 1904, 700 heavy trucks were built in the United States, 1000 in 1907, 6000 in 1910, and 25000 in 1914.

After World War I, several advances were made:

Pneumatic tires replaced the previously common full rubber versions. Electric starters, power brakes, 4, 6, and 8 cylinder engines, closed cabs, and electric lighting followed. The first modern semi-trailer trucks also appeared. Touring car builders such as Ford and Renault entered the heavy truck market.

Diesel engines

Although it had been invented in 1890, the diesel engine was not common in trucks in Europe until the 1930s. In the United States, it took much longer for diesel engines to be accepted: gasoline engines were still in use on heavy trucks in the 1970s.

Types of trucks by size

Ultra-light trucks (golf cars, estates etc-electric vehicle),

Very light trucks popular in Europe and Asia, many mini trucks are factory redesigns of light automobiles, usually with integrated chassis (Daihatsu Hijet, Honda Acty, Tata Havry, Mazda Scrum, Mitsubishi Minicab, Subaru Sambar, Suzuki Carry),

Light trucks(in the US, no more than 13,900 lb (6.3 t) and in the EU they may not weigh more than 3.5 t (7,700 lb),

Medium trucks (in the US weighing between 13,000 and 33,000 lb and in the UK and the EU the weight is between 3.5 to 7.5 t (7,700 to 16,500 lb)

Heavy trucks are the largest on-road trucks.Road damage and wear increase very rapidly with the axle weight. The number of steering axles and the suspension type also influence the amount of the road wear. In many countries with good roads a six-axle truck may have a maximum weight of 97,000 lb (44 t) or more.

Off-road trucks Off-road trucks include standard, extra heavy-duty highway-legal trucks, typically outfitted with off-road features such as a front driving axle and special tires for applications such as logging and construction, and purpose-built off-road vehicles unconstrained by weight limits, such as the Liebherr T 282B mining truck.

Maximum sizes by country

Australia has complex regulations over weight and length, including axle spacing, type of axle/axle group, rear overhang, kingpin to rear of trailer, drawbar length, ground clearance, as well as height and width laws. These limits are some of the highest in the world, a B-double can weigh 62.5 t (138,000 lb) and be 25 m (82 ft) long, and road trains used in the outback can weigh 172 tonnes (379,000 lb) and be 53.5 m (176 ft) long.

The European Union also has complex regulations. The number and spacing of axles, steering, single or dual tires, and suspension type all affect maximum weights. Length of a truck, of a trailer, from axle to hitch point, kingpin to rear of trailer, and turning radius are all regulated. In additions, there are special rules for carrying containers, and countries can set their own rules for local traffic.

The United States Federal Bridge Law deals with the relation between the gross weight of the truck, the number of axles, the weight on and the spacing between the axles that the truck can have on the Interstate highway system.

Each State determines the maximum permissible vehicle, combination, and axle weight on state and local roads.

Country Size With Trailer Other

Australia 23 Tons 39 feet 172 Tons- 176 ft.

China 25 Tons 39 feet 49 T-54 ft 55 Tons 62 ft.

Europe 26 Tons 39 feet 54 ft. 44 Tons 62 ft.

USA 24.5 T 45 feet 36 ft. 36 Tons

Almost all trucks share a common construction: they are made of a chassis, a cab, an area for placing cargo or equipment, axles, equipment, axles, suspension and roadwheels, an engine and Pneumatic, hydraulic, water, and electrical systems may also be present. Many also tow one or more trailers or semi-trailers.


The cab is an enclosed space where the driver is seated. A "sleeper" is a compartment attached to or integral with the cab where the driver can rest while not driving, sometimes seen in semi-trailer trucks.

There are several possible cab configurations:

  • "Cab over engine" (COE) or "flat nose"; where the driver is seated above the front axle and the engine. This design is almost ubiquitous in Europe, where overall truck lengths are strictly regulated, but also widely used in the rest of the world as well. They were common in North American heavyduty trucks, but lost prominence when permitted length was extended in the early 1980s. Nevertheless, this design is still popular in North America among medium and light duty trucks. To reach the engine, the whole cab tilts forward, earning this design the name of "tilt-cab". This type of cab is especially suited to the delivery conditions in Europe where many roads follow the layout of much more ancient paths and trackways which require the additional turning capability given by the short wheelbase of the cab over engine type.[25] The COE design was invented by Viktor Schreckengost.[26]

  • Conventional cabs are the most common in North America and Australia, and are known in the UK as "American cabs" and in the Netherlands as "torpedo cabs". The driver is seated behind the engine, as in most passenger cars or pickup trucks. Many new cabs are very streamlined, with a sloped hood and other features to lower drag.

  • Cab beside engine designs also exist, but are rather rare and are mainly used inside shipping yards, or other specialist uses that require the vehicle to carry long loads such as pipes, metal rods, flat iron and other construction materials. This type is often custom made from a regular cabover truck that gets the upper half of its cab removed on the passenger side and replaced by an extended section of the bed.

A further step from this is the side loading forklift that can be described as a specially fabricated vehicle with the same properties as a truck of this type, in addition to the ability to pick up its own load.


Most small trucks such as sport utility vehicles (SUVs) or pickups, and even light medium-duty trucks in North America, China, and Russia use gasoline engines (petrol engines), but many diesel engined models are now being produced. Most of the heavier trucks use four-stroke diesel engines with a turbocharger and intercooler. Huge off-highway trucks use locomotive-type engines such as a V12 Detroit Diesel two stroke engine. Diesel engines are becoming the engine of choice for trucks ranging from class 3 to 8 GVWs. A large proportion of refuse trucks in the United States employ CNG (compressed natural gas) engines for their low fuel cost and reduced carbon emissions.

North American manufactured highway trucks often use an engine built by a third party, such as CAT, Cummins, or Detroit Diesel, but both Mack and Navistar offer their own engines.

In the European Union, all new truck engines must comply with Euro 5 emission regulations.


Small trucks use the same type of transmissions as almost all cars, having either an automatic transmission or a manual transmission with synchromesh (synchronizers). Bigger trucks often use manual transmissions without synchronizers, saving bulk and weight, although synchromesh transmissions are used in larger trucks as well. Transmissions without synchronizers, known as "crash boxes", require double-clutching for each shift, (which can lead to repetitive motion injuries), or a technique known colloquially as "floating", a method of changing gears which doesn't use the clutch, except for starts and stops, due to the physical effort of double clutching, especially with non-power-assisted clutches, faster shifts, and less clutch wear.

Double-clutching allows the driver to control the engine and transmission revolutions to synchronize, so that a smooth shift can be made; for example, when upshifting, the accelerator pedal is released and the clutch pedal is depressed while the gear lever is moved into neutral, the clutch pedal is then released and quickly pushed down again while the gear lever is moved to the next higher gear. Finally, the clutch pedal is released and the accelerator pedal pushed down to obtain required engine speed. Although this is a relatively fast movement, perhaps a second or so while transmission is in neutral, it allows the engine speed to drop and synchronize engine and transmission revolutions relative to the road speed. Downshifting is performed in a similar fashion, except the engine speed is now required to increase (while transmission is in neutral) just the right amount in order to achieve the synchronization for a smooth, non-collision gear change. "Skip changing" is also widely used; in principle operation is the same as double-clutching, but it requires neutral be held slightly longer than a single-gear change.

Common North American setups include 9, 10, 13, 15, and 18 speeds. Automatic and semi-automatic transmissions for heavy trucks are becoming more and more common, due to advances both in transmission and engine power. In Europe, 8, 10, 12 and 16 gears are common on larger trucks with manual transmission, while automatic or semi-automatic transmissions would have anything from 5 to 12 gears. Almost all heavy truck transmissions are of the "range and split" (double H shift pattern) type, where range change and so‑called half gears or splits are air operated and always preselected before the main gear selection.


A truck frame consists of two parallel boxed (tubular) or C‑shaped rails, or beams, held together by crossmembers. These frames are referred to as ladder frames due to their resemblance to a ladder if tipped on end. The rails consist of a tall vertical section (two if boxed) and two shorter horizontal flanges. The height of the vertical section provides opposition to vertical flex when weight is applied to the top of the frame (beam resistance). Though typically flat the whole length on heavy duty trucks, the rails may sometimes be tapered or arched for clearance around the engine or over the axles. The holes in rails are used either for mounting vehicle components and running wires and hoses, or measuring and adjusting the orientation of the rails at the factory or repair shop.

The frame is usually made of steel, but can be made (whole or in part) of aluminum for a lighter weight. A tow bar may be found attached at one or both ends, but heavy trucks almost always make use of a fifth wheel hitch.

Body types

Box trucks ("tilts" in the UK) have walls and a roof, making an enclosed load space. The rear has doors for unloading; a side door is sometimes fitted.

Concrete mixers have a rotating drum on an inclined axis, rotating in one direction to mix, and in the other to discharge the concrete down chutes. Because of the weight and power requirements of the drum body and rough construction sites, mixers have to be very heavy duty.

Dump trucks ("tippers" in the UK) transport loose material such as sand, gravel, or dirt for construction. A typical dump truck has an open-box bed, which is hinged at the rear and lifts at the front, allowing the material in the bed to be unloaded ("dumped") on the ground behind the truck.

Flatbed trucks have an entirely flat, level platform body. This allows for quick and easy loading but has no protection for the load. Hanging or removable sides are sometimes fitted.

Semi-tractors ("artics" in the UK) have a fifth wheel for towing a semi-trailer instead of a body.

Tank trucks ("tankers" in the UK) are designed to carry liquids or gases. They usually have a cylindrical tank lying horizontally on the chassis. Many variants exist due to the wide variety of liquids and gases that can be transported.

Wreckers ("recovery lorries" in the UK) are used to recover and/or tow disabled vehicles. They are normally equipped with a boom with a cable; wheel/chassis lifts are becoming common on newer trucks.

ONE THING YOU almost never see when an airplane lands is a blowout. Think about that: Again and again, the tires hit tarmac at 170 miles per hour and bear the weight of a modest office building. And they nail it. Every time.

Aircraft tires are amazing when you think about it. The typical airliner tire can handle a 38-ton load. It can meet the ground 500 times before needing a re-tread, a refresh it can take on seven times in its life.

A Boeing 777 uses 14 tires, Airbus' A380 carries 22, and the enormous Antonov An-225 demands 32. The key to their remarkable durability is maximizing the air pressure, says Lee Bartholomew, lead test engineer for Michelin Aircraft Tires. The high-flying rubber is typically inflated to 200 psi, roughly six times what you put in an automobile tire, and the tires on an F-16 fighter are pumped to 320 psi. “It's really pressurized air that's so strong,” he says.

The tires themselves aren't terribly large— a Boeing 737 rides on 27x7.75 R15 rubber. In English, that means it is 27 inches in diameter, 7.75 inches wide, and wrapped around a 15-inch wheel. The sidewalls aren't terribly thick, and the strength of the tire lies in the cords embedded below the tread, Bartholomew says. They're typically nylon, and more recently a variety known as aramid. Each layer of the casing contributes to its load bearing and air pressure resisting capabilities. Of course, tires can fail, especially when under-inflated or overloaded. Treads can come off and casings can blow out.

In the first moments after a plane touches down, the tires are skidding, not rolling. The airplane essentially drags them down the runway until their rotational velocity matches the velocity of the plane. That's why they smoke upon landing, and why Michelin uses grooves instead of the block patterns seen on your car's rubber—blocks would simply break off. (Most tire wear comes from this moment of contact—where the rubber meets the runway.) The stoutest tires are rated for speeds of up to 288 mph.

To develop a new sort of tire, or test a tweak, Michelin starts with computer simulation, followed by prototyping. Then it tests how the tires do when they're overloaded or pushed past their speed limit, on simulated takeoffs, landings, and taxiing. Like everything in aviation, tires must meet specific and demanding rules—for example, a tire must withstand four times its rated pressure for at least three seconds.

“It is almost impossible to blow out a tire by over inflating it,” Bartholomew says. “In fact, in cases where tires have been over-inflated, the wheel actually fails before the tires.

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