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Ziggurat Tire Valves for the 21st Century! from Tirex LLC


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.

Goodyear patented 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 years."

© 1999 John L. Campbell 17800A Caribou Pass Brookfield, WI 53045-2041 (414)790-2670FAX (414)790-2690
Not to be copied or used in any manner without express written permission of the author.

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