from the wonderful site The Old Motor and it's frequent look at the historical innovations and evolving vehicles and auto technology http://theoldmotor.com/?p=108611
In the early days of the automobile, the pneumatic tire suffered from punctures, rapid wear and blowouts that could cause serious accidents. At that point in time, the future of this type of tire was not at all certain. In 1906, pneumatic tires would last for around two thousand miles if fitted to a standard sized touring car. However, if fitted to a heavy limousine or sedan which could weigh more than 2 tons, the life span of the tires might decrease to only about two hundred miles. Moreover, the price of tires in the early days was considerable and formed a large part of the yearly operating expenses of a car. Consequently, other solutions were sought to secure comfortable and safe driving without the worries of regular tire repairs and replacements.
below is from a forgotten source, possibly the Steampunk sites