What are Snow Chains?
Snow chains, or tire chains, are devices fitted to the tires of vehicles to provide maximum traction when driving through snow and ice.
Snow chains attach to the drive wheels of a vehicle. Chains are usually sold in pairs and must be purchased to match a particular tire size (tire diameter and tread width). Driving with chains reduces fuel efficiency, and can reduce the speed of the automobile to approximately 50 km/h (30 mph).
Snow chains were invented in 1904 by Harry D. Weed in Canastota, New York. Weed received U.S. Patent Number 768495 for his "Grip-Tread for Pneumatic Tires" on August 23, 1904. Weed's great-grandson, James Weed, said that Harry got the idea of creating chains for tires when he saw drivers wrap rope, or even vines, around their tires to increase traction on muddy or snowy roads, which were the norm at the turn of the 20th century. He sought to make a traction device that was more durable and would work with snow as well as mud.
In July 1935, the Canadian Auguste Trudeau obtained a patent for his tread and anti-skidding chain.