Old fasioned cars, like Ford’s Model T, had very narrow tires. This went on for quite some time; photographs of trucks in the 20s and 30’s show tires not much wider than a bicycle or motorcycle on rather big trucks (for the era).
Did it really takes decades of trial and error to find out that if you make tires wider, they offer more traction and allow a vehicle to support more weight? If you look at tractor trailers, with legions of ‘duallies’, its obvious that more and wider tires allow you to get both more traction and spread out loads more.
I imagine that this would be even more critical back then when there were comparitavely few paved roads. What were they thinking?!