In the late 1930s, a German chemist named Otto Bayer synthesized a new organic polymer called polyurethane. Over the decades polyurethane found many applications, especially in the automobile industry, where the soft, elastic polymer is used to manufacture high-resilience foam cushion for seats, headrests, armrests, as well as to line roof, dashboards and instrument panels. Bayer went so far as to exhibit an experimental car whose body was made entirely out of polyurethane. But it was legendary tire manufacturer Goodyear that turned heads by inventing a new use for the wonder material—tires, and not just any tire; these tires glowed.
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A woman adjusts her stocking using the light emitted by the Goodyear tire on an October night in 1961.