What color were the first car tires?
Which of these common idioms was originally an advertising slogan?
While it's easy to assume that the deep black color of modern tires was just the color that tires have always been, the older tires had a completely opposite color. Before the introduction of carbon black as a preservative and reinforcer in the early 20th century, the tire rubber was a semi-translucent white that looked a lot like a rubber eraser.
It is also for this reason that the Michelin man, emblematic mascot of the Michelin tire manufacturer – seen here in one of his first iterations – was represented in white, a color as far as possible from the black of 39 ink modern tires.