Since that first wooden wheel changed the world, man has been improving upon the concept with many different materials and ideas. History shows us that the first successful wheels were not actually solid, but were made from boards, fastened together and then the edges were rounded. The theory is that a solid wheel was just not strong enough to support any real weight, for long distances, over difficult ground. Many millennia later, someone dreamed of the incredible spoked wheel, which is essentially the basis for every wheel invented since.
Wrapping It Up
The improvements engineered for tires, as well as for rims has continued through the years, with the inventions and enhancements of nylon, cord, rubber, and other materials tried out for different types of tires. The actual rim or wheel has been experimented with and altered in design and material as the world discovered steel, iron, and aluminum, and variations of these metals, and also different types of plastics. Though for the record, plastics are not yet considered suitable for structure of a rim, but mostly for cosmetic purpose, to cover the rim and improve the appearance.
The most popular choice of wheels today, is the alloy wheel or the aluminum rim if you’d rather. And not only because they are so much prettier than steel rims, though they really are. However, the real reason that alloy is so much more popular, is because it is so much lighter, and structurally stronger. Steel wheels and hubcaps are heavy, and when riding in a car that has them, you feel every bump in the road. Aluminum wheels make for a much smoother ride; actually, it can feel like gliding over the road. That is why most luxury automobiles have them now.