Tech gene question

Returning to the subject of tech genes. Here’s an odd question that doesn’t seem to have an easy explanation.

Horse-powered vehicles had wheels with iron rims, and continued to have iron rims after automobiles were common.**

Horseless carriages had pneumatic rubber tires from the start, even when they were made by the same company. Studebaker was the biggest wagonmaker in the country, with 50 years of iron rims. In 1902 they electrified one of their buckboards, and immediately gave it delicate bicycle wheels with pneumatic tires.

They continued making horse-powered carriages until 1920, always with iron rims.

Constants: The weight was the same. The suspension was the same at first. The streets and roads were the same. At first the speed was the same. Both topped out at 15 mph.

Variable: Rubber tires were an innate gene for horseless vehicles.

Some of the first experimental cars were made from bicycle and motorcycle parts, so they naturally inherited pneumatics. But others, including both Studie and GM, had long experience with horses. Why did the bicycle gene dominate immediately and completely?

** One exception: Long after autos became universal, some route delivery stayed with horses. Spokane used ‘mail chariots’ in the 40s. A Toronto dairy used streamlined milk trucks in the 1950s. Both were custom-built from car parts because buggy parts were no longer available.

Exception to the exception: The Amish are still making buggies the old way, with required additions like crapcatchers and taillights.

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