Tire Pressure Gauges: A Brief History

We’ve talked a lot about checking your tire pressure (once a month, in case you haven’t been listening) because it’s important for maintaining optimal contact with the road. But for how long has this been a thing? What is the history of the tire pressure gauge? Well, thanks to Google, we’re about to find out.

The first general pressure gauge was invented around 1850, and it’s called the Bourdon-tube gauge. Britannica.com says this type of gauge is still one of the most commonly used instruments for measuring liquid and gas pressure.

According to Geeksoncars.com, soon after the rubber tire was developed, so too was a way to test its pressure. They trace the first tire pressure gauge back to the early 1900s. Over the last 100 or so years, tire pressure gauges have evolved from those pencil-thin ones to a variety of gauges that range in size and accuracy.

Tire pressure is so important to safety that vehicles starting in model year 2008 are required to include systems designed to alert drivers of pressure problems. This mandate comes from the 2001 Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act which

establishes a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard that requires the installation of tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMSs) that warn the driver when a tire is significantly under-inflated. The standard applies to passenger cars, trucks, multipurpose passenger vehicles, and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less, except those vehicles with dual wheels on an axle.

Do you own a tire pressure gauge? What kind? Tell us in the comments below!

  • Christine Sullivan

    Hi, I’ve got an Auto-Tec Tire Pressure Gauge, that I bought on Amazon. It’s a mechanical gauge that goes up to 60 psi with a good length hose. It’s really accurate and I am very happy with it.