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The first was Hercules

After the first patent in 1894, in 1901 Pirelli invented its own innovative system for attaching the tyre to the rim – and named it Ercole. At last, a tyre that was suitable for a new, powerful means of transport: the motorcar

“Reaching the right technical level and establishing the Pirelli tyre on the market was a long, tough job. There were countless problems to solve and, just when it seemed they had been worked out, new ones took their place as speeds and acceleration increased, along with heavier loads.” When this was how, in 1946, Alberto Pirelli recalled the pioneering years of his father Giovanni Battista. It was the dawn of the automobile, and also tyre technology needed to be invented from scratch. The immediate problem was to keep the tyre fastened to the rim while driving. So Pirelli imagined two big, inextensible beads that would be wedged, even with difficulty, into the groove of the rim. This was the tyre with the “Ercole-type” attachment. The year was 1901.

1901

Cover of the patent for a robust attachment for Pirelli Ercole tyres for cars

1910 - 1915

Advertising sketch for Pirelli Ercole tyres, made by an anonymous artist

1902

Cover of the Pirelli price list for tyres and accessories for bicycles and motorcars

10 August 1907

Telegram from Scipione Borghese to Pirelli in which he says he is "extremely satisfied" that he only used 16 tyres and inner tubes throughout the trip