The Dunlop Rubber Company

Dunlop Tyres were one of the sponsors of the Cape Record. While Chris was reading a book called My Darling Daisy by Theo Lang he came across an interesting passage about how the Dunlop Rubber Company developed the pneumatic tyre. The book is about Daisy’s endeavour to blackmail the British Government and the British Royal family with letters that had been sent to her by Prince Edward (later Edward VII). Below is an interesting extract from the book about the creation of the Dunlop Rubber Company

“Albemarle, like most informed people in London at that time, would also be familiar with the romantic story of du Cros’s rise to and fortune. In his youth Arthur du Cros had been an ardent racing cyclist, and this sport had actually been the root cause of his considerable wealth.  In May of 1889, when he was eighteen, he was racing at Queen’s College Sports and saw Hume, a well-known cyclist, win all the events on a cycle equipped with a strange new device. Around the rim of the cycle wheels was fixed a rubber tube covered with stout linen tape. The tube could be inflated by using the pump normally used for blowing up footballs. The man who concocted the device was a Scotsman, John Boyd Dunlop, then a veterinary surgeon in Belfast. Du Cros asked to borrow the machine and four months later raced it at Ballsbridge, Dublin. Du Cros described the device as a ‘pneumatic tyre’, though spectators rudely called it a ‘pudding tyre’ and the race officials were doubtful whether cycle-racing ethics could allow the use of such a novelty. However, deciding to humour the youth’s eccentricity, they allowed him to compete. Arthur won the race and the first prize.

He had won more. He had learned the immense potentialities the pneumatic tyre could have. Not only on such modest appliances as cycles, but also for the new vehicles, the motor-car, which at that time, under the impetus of such men as Daimler and Panhard, was at last being considered as a commercial proposition.

John Boyd Dunlop had neither the capital nor, it seems, the commercial ambition to do much to develop his invention, but Arthur du Cros and his father, William Harvey du Cros, had both. They began manufacturing the tyres at a Dublin factory, and within seven years the twenty-five-year-old racing cyclist was managing director of a £3,000,000 company, had laid the foundation of the family fortune and also of the giant Dunlop Rubber Company which within a few more  years was a formidable world-wide industrial concern.”

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