In 1950 on a fishing trip in Alaska William Albee happened to notice a group of villagers moving a heavy wooded boat up a muddy bank using what looked like rolling balloons. But upon further inspection Albee found out they were using inflated seal skins to roll the boat up with hill with minimal effort for such a mighty task. Albee then returned to his home in Monterrey California where he took the idea used by the natives to produce the first Low Pressure Off-Road tire and then when on to create vehicles that used this new tire technology under the name Albee Rolligon Co.
The tires had to be specially made using a combination of fabric and rubber which made them conquer any type of terrain you put in front of it. Because of the material used and the low pressure itself the tires literally absorb bumps and things rather than the tire going over them. A perfect example of that is when a 5 ton Rolligon truck literally runs over its creator William Albee in this 1950’s footage of one of the Army adaptation of the Rolligon and he gets up completely unharmed.
Rolligons played a huge part in maintaining the oil fields in northern Alaska during the harsh winter months. In the 1970’s three large Rolligons set out on a test run all the way to Prudhoe Bay, one of the vehicles carry a motor home to provide living quarters for the crew along the way. The Two others carried supplies for the trip like gasoline and water as well as much needed supplies for the people of Prudhoe Bay. With top speeds less then 30mph in perfect conditions and closer to 3mph when things got bad the journey was going to take them some time. Check out this video documenting the trip.
Here s a shorter video of the rolligons being used in alaska
Even to this day Rolligons are being used by oil field workers in Prudhoe Bay, and apparently they are in need of drivers because in doing the research for this post I’ve seen multiple job postings.