'Pneumatiques Cuir Samson', poster, c 1910.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
French poster printed by Kosuth & Cie, Paris, featuring a coloured lithograph of a naked man of strength testing a Samson pneumatic tyre. The invention of the pneumatic tyre by John Boyd Dunlop (1840-1921) in 1888 revolutionised wheeled transport. Initially used on bicycles, the new tyres gave a much smoother, more comfortable ride. In 1895 the Michelin brothers, who later went on to become one of the foremost tyre manufacturers, completed the Paris-Bordeaux car race in a vehicle fitted with pneumatic tyres, getting through 22 inner tubes in the proces. In the early days of motoring, tyres were expensive and prone to puncturing, a problem made worse by the poor road surfaces of the time.