Enthusiasts' Directory

No. 10 — Tyres

This particular instalment of “Enthusiasts’ Directory” is especially interesting, because no single component of the motor car has benefited so thoroughly from racing as the tyre. In the very early times, as the racing car emerged out of the mists of antiquity, the pneumatic tyre endowed the vehicles to which it was fitted with more speed, at the expense of time lost repairing the inevitable punctures. For many years after the turn of the century racing cars proved too fast for the covers they ran on, and as late as 1914 Hornsted was cheated time and again of the coveted hour-record with the big Benz because the high-pressure racing tyres of those days would not carry this heavy and very fast car for more than about half an hour.

The problem of time-loss over punctures and blow-outs had been solved by the introduction of the Rudge-Whitworth detachable wheel with centre-lock securing nut, an item of equipment banned in the 1908 French Grand Prix, so that the British Napiers could not compete. This spelt the end of the heroic age when mechanics and drivers had to slash hot, deflated covers from the rims of non-detachable wheels at the roadside, but introduced the fascinating spectacle of short-duration wheel-changes at the pits. As speeds rose another problem presented itself, that of tyres leaving the wheels, which security-bolts only partially cured. The solution, of course, was to forsake beaded-edge construction in favour of well-base rims, but having secured the tyres to the rims it was many years before treads ceased to fly from the covers – it even happens occasionally in racing today.

Yet pneumatic tyres improved by leaps and bounds, especially those made by Dunlop in England and Michelin in France, and for racing, notably all-out racing at Brooklands Track, the introduction of cord tyres by Palmer was a distinct advance. Today most tyres have a rayon-cord foundation.

After the 1914-18 war progress continued, balloon or “comfort” covers of oversize dimensions becoming the vogue on small cars in France, where such Michelin-shod economy vehicles as the 2 c.v. Citroen and 7/12 Peugeot were the rage in 1923. The advent of larger tyre sections and front-wheel brakes at this time can be said to have hastened the development of universal independent-front-suspension, for wheels which had behaved impeccably on rigid, cart-sprung front axles when shod with lightweight high-pressure tyres, played odd gyroscopic pranks with the steering when carrying “balloons” and brake drums.

These new low-pressure, wider-section covers were soon universal but as late as 1922 even Rapson, who manufactured a sort of Rolls-Royce amongst wheel-wear, found racing conditions to pose insoluble problems and we find the great Parry Thomas hiring a fire-engine with which to pump some of the River Wey onto the Railway Straight in an endeavour to cool the tyres of his Leyland Eight during an attempt on the world’s hour record at Brooklands.

Lessons of racing were absorbed, improved tyres were designed, until today it is possible to drive for more than 20,000 miles with complete freedom from tyre troubles, and for Grand Prix cars to complete races without a wheel-change. Dunlop built special tyres with wafer-thin treads which enabled British drivers and cars to lift the Land Speed Record to 200, then to 300 and finally to over 400 m.p.h., and they also produced special covers which enabled heavy outer-circuit cars to lap Brooklands at speeds in excess of 140 m.p.h. In recent times Avon have had notable successes in motor-cycle racing and Competition Managers of tyre firms know all the wrinkles about measuring wear and temperature of tyres during practice before Grand Prix races, a technique which at one time seemed to be a prerogative of the German firm of Continental.

Pre-war mud-storming trials called for special tread patterns which were invaluable in war and pioneered the sort of sure-grip tyres so valuable today for farming and military purposes.

“Dunlop Mac” in his time must have changed thousands of racing covers under the orders of Norman Freeman, doyen of Competition Managers, and no one could testify better to the contribution which racing has made to the near-perfection of the tyres you and I use today. Avon, Dunlop, Englebert, Michelin, Palmer, Pirelli, these and other names are closely associated with great deeds on road and track. Such firms have taken good heed of the lessons high-speed motoring has to teach, and so we move on to the introduction of the tubeless tyre and the time when the spare wheel, so difficult to stow, such a nightmare to stylists, so dirty and cumbersome for a lady to handle on a wet night, will be abolished, and cars will run their useful lives immune from punctures.—W.B.


The introduction of the pneumatic tyre nearly seventy years ago constituted one the the greatest individual advances in the world of transport. The solid-tyred wheel had long remained the epitomy of the horse and cart and the new invention was to coincide very conveniently with the development of the first horseless carriages.

Originally designed by John Dunlop for use on the bicycles of the period, pneumatic tyres first gained recognition through this medium because of the increased speed and comfort which they offered in contrast with the then solid-tyred unsprung machines. This, in turn, increased the popularity of the bicycle and the Dunlop company in particular went from strength to strength in the manufacture of pneumatic tyres.

By the beginning of the present century most British manufacturers of motor cars had adopted the new tyres which, even at this stage in their development, were suitable forum on machines travelling at over 60 m.p.h., a remarkable achievement in view of their inception only 12 years previously. Beaded-edge tyres, low-pressure tyre, super balloons, giants, all were to follow but the initial moves had been made and the interests of industrial powers aroused.

Today, however, the tyres of a modern car can be relied upon to give very efficient service under arduous conditions, gone are the days when a set of covers lasted just a few thousand miles, 30,000 miles and more can be obtained now with careful driving before even the expense of a retread is envisaged.

Amongst the comparatively recently introduced tyres have been the steel corded types, the snow and town and country types, the wire tread, new speed tyres and the latest tubeless examples which are now being fitted to many of the new cars as standard equipment. Similar advances have also been made in the commercial vehicle field, stronger and more durable types are available designed expressly for the work which they are likely to undertake, be it agriculture, mining engineering or amphibious warfare.

In contrast with the pioneer motorist the present car owner has to pay much less money for his tyres, £12 being a fair outlay for a pair of tyres for a modest car whereas 50 years ago £18-20 would have been needed for the purchase of a similar pair which would have lasted for a very much shorter period, an example of the research which has gone into these all-important articles helped, at the same time, by greatly improved road surfaces and, indirectly, by such advances as the advent of the low-pressure tyre.

With the passage of time many large combines have grown up for the manufacture and sale of tyres and a wide choice remains open to the motorist. Most companies offer an expensive range and a cheaper popular range, but prices fluctuate frequently and the ?ar not always accurate. Some indication of the histories and special products of the leading firms follow. — I.G.


Founded by Browne and Margetson at Limpley Stoke, Somerset, in 1885. The firm later moved to larger premises at Melksham, Wiltshire, in 1889, and became known as The Avon India Rubber Company, Limited.

The Managing Director’s son, R.F. Fuller, was an enthusiastic pioneer motorist owning a Locomobile in 1901 (an American two-seater steam car with a petrol-burning boiler under the seat) and a 6-h.p. two-cylinder Pick in 1904.

Avon started making tyres in 1901 and soon made all types, including pneumatics adapted for use in the First World War.

Avon was early in the competition field taking great interest in cycle and motor-cycle racing, as well as motor racing. Innumerable International and other races were won on Avon tyres; notably by Kaye Don and Reg Shirley.

In 1927 alone 51 firsts were gained in prizes, nine gold medals and the Brooklands Gold Star and many trophies.

Avon ceased active competition in 1932, but maintained full development facilities. Attention was returned to racing in 1946, and in 1949 Avon recommenced in motor-cycle racing with the Vincent and Norton Companies. Since then the works teams of Vincent, Norton, Gilera, Moto Guzzi, and many famous private entrants have specified Avon tyres, while in motor racing the Aston Martin Company, the Gilby Engineering Company, and one or two privately entered G.P. cars use those tyres.

The present range of Avon tyres for private cars comprises Racing, H.M., H.M. Airseal, H.M. Whitewall, H.M. Airseal Whitewall, Winter Safety and Traction Mileage. Probably the most interesting type from the appearance angle is the last mentioned, the Traction Mileage, which is a heavy-duty cover for use in rough country as well as on smooth roads and gives an exceptionally big mileage before requiring replacement. Avon tyres are fitted as original equipment on Aston Martin, Vauxhall and Rover cars.

Competition Manager: Bob Walsham, The Avon India Rubber Co., Ltd., Welksham, Wilts.

British Tyre & Rubber

British Tyre & Rubber Co. Ltd. has specialised for over a quarter of a century in the manufacture of high-grade, craftsman-built tyres marketed under the well-known trade name “Gilt-Edged.” Designed and built at Leylard, Lancashire, B.T.R. “Gilt-Edged” tyres have a wide flat tread of maximum thickness for the highest mileage consistent with cool and safe running. Available in a wide range of sizes, they are bought particularly by that informed section of the motoring public whose knowledgeable demands for extra performance can only be satisfied by the best possible balance between the conflicting requirements of modern motoring.

The Palmer Tyre Co., Ltd., the well-known pioneers of the first cord tyre in the world, and of many other major advances in modern tyre construction, including the reinforcing of tread and side-wall rubbers with carbon black, and the first low-pressure tyre, is an important member of the British Tyre & Rubber Co. Ltd. group of companies.

Advertising: J. J. McGinity, The British Tyre & Rubber Co. Ltd., Herga House, Vincent Square, London, S.W.1.


The company originated in 1880 as S.T. Davies & Co., manufacturers and wholesalers of bicycles and cycle accessories with premises in Bethnal Green Road. After 1918 this side of the business was sold and the company concentrated on the sale of British and Continental tyres of varying manufacture.

Later, the company moved to Euston Road, the Davies Tyre Company was formed and, in 1924, the first Davies Tyre was manufactured. Since then a complete range of car and giant tyres has been manufactured, and in 1929 the firm moved to its existing premises at The Hyde, Edgware Road, London, N.W.9. The company has branches in Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Tunbridge Wells and Walsall.

The Davies Tyre Co., Ltd. is the only privately owned wholly British tyre manufacturer in the United Kingdom.

An associate company of Davies is the Re-cord Tyre Co., Ltd., one of the largest national motor tyre retreading companies in Great Britain.

Originators of the famous Davies steel cord racing tyres, which were used in the early days of racing, this company has always had a keen following amongst competition motorists. A very comprehensive range of tyres is available for private and commercial use, standard and heavy duty covers being produced, a typical 5.00-16 retailing at £5 17s. for the standard and a 5.50-19 £8 6s. 6d. likewise, with approximately another £2 for the heavy duty cover in the latter size. Whitewall covers can be supplied in certain sizes at 20 per cent. above normal prices.

Davies Tyre Co., Ltd., Davies Works, The Hyde, London, N.W.9.


In Belfast 69 years ago there took place an event that was to revolutionise not merely the history of transport, but the whole pattern of modern life: the discovery by John Boyd Dunlop of the first practicable pneumatic tyre.

Dunlop, a middle-aged Scottish veterinary surgeon practising in Belfast, was a prosperous family man with a keen inventive mind. Much of his time was spent jogging along country lanes from farm to farm, and the discomfort he endured set him thinking of ways and means of improving travelling conditions. In the autumn of 1887 he started to experiment with an air-filled tube. He first made a wooden disc 16 in. in diameter. To its rim he then affixed a sheet rubber tube inflated and covered with canvas. Its performance compared so favourably with that of a solid rubber tyre detached from his son’s tricycle that he prepared two further tyres in the same way; they were secured to wooden rims, the rims then being wired to the rear wheels of the tricycle. He discovered that the tyres were lighter, faster and immeasurably more comfortable. Encouraged by his success he took out a patent for his invention in July, 1888.

But Dunlop had still to convince the outside world of the superiority of the pneumatic tyre. That he did so in so short a space of time was largely due to the foresight and enterprise of a Belfast firm of bicycle manufacturers: W. Edlin & Co., of Garfield Street. Within six months this firm was turning out “safeties” specially designed for Dunlops tyres. At first an object of derision on account of their ungainly appearance, the tyres soon proved their worth when at the Queen’s College Sports in May, 1889. William Hume, Captain of the Belfast Cruisers Cycling Club, won every race for which he entered on a pneumatic-tyred machine. Further spectacular racing victories by Arthur Du Cros convinced a hesitant public that pneumatic tyres had come to stay.

The Du Cros family was closely linked with the early fortunes of the Dunlop Rubber Company, for it was thanks to Harvey Du Cros that Dunlop secured the necessary financial backing to expand his organisation and to found in Dublin in 1889 with an authorised capital of £25,000 the company that was later to bear his name.

The company prospered rapidly, for Dunlop’s invention led to a great increase in the popularity of bicycles. Before long, the Dublin factory proved inadequate to meet demands and the tyre organisation was therefore transferred to Coventry; the heart of the cycle industry. Emphasis was still on cycle tyres in those early days, since motor vehicles were limited by the restrictive “Red Flag” Act to a speed of 4 m.p.h. and the vehicles themselves were clumsy, under-powered and fitted with iron-tyred wheels. But the repeal of the Act in 1896 gave an impetus to the motor industry that resulted in a further expansion of the Pneumatic Tyre Company, as it was now called. As in the case of bicycle tyres, it was discovered that the future lay with the pneumatic tyre, for tyres made from solid rubber grew hot and disintegrated.

In 1901 the company adopted its present name of the Dunlop Rubber Company. In 1908 there was launched at Coventry the Dunlop Rim and Wheel Company, Limited, which was soon manufacturing the new detachable wire wheels and hubs. This development was a direct result of the company’s early realisation that however well made its tyres, their performance depended greatly on wheel design. Still more significant was the establishment in 1910 of the company’s first rubber plantations in Malaya. Dunlop thus secured not only technical control of its main raw material but made an attempt to protect itself against violent price fluctuations in the world market. Today the company owns rubber-producing estates covering 80,000 acres.

After this well-earned prosperity the firm continued to expand and as a long-established British concern its products have enjoyed considerable popularity on these islands particularly. All manner of rubber products are now manufactured in the various companies in Britain and many other subsidiary companies have been formed throughout the world. Dunlop tyres are available in all sizes and for all purposes and are well known for their long-lasting qualities coupled with moderate price. A new tyre has been introduced in recent months, it is the “Road Speed” tyre which is designed for use on high performance cars, it has a new ribbed pattern with specially angled knife cuts for extra grip on wet roads.

Competition Manager: N.W. Freeman, Dunlop Rubber Co. Ltd., Fort Dunlop, Erdington, Birmingham 24.


As on enthusiast of rubber tyres in the 1890s Harvey Firestone started by fitting new tyres, which he bought from outside concerns, on carriages and buggies in his home town of Chicago. By the turn of the century the Firestone Rubber Tyre Company became united with other concerns furthering the sales and fitting of the new products. Retained as Manager of this larger concern, Firestone was restless and a disagreement over policy prompted him to leave with $42,000 capital for Akron, Ohio, the rubber city, where in 1900 he founded another company, acquired the existing stocks of tyres from a manufacturing company and organised the sales of a superior carriage tyre which possessed no retaining wires (which had previously considerably reduced the effective lives of the articles).

In January, 1903, Firestone opened his own new factory in South Akron and from then on production began in earnest. Further branches opened and sales increased especially in the commercial vehicle field, a market which Firestone had been early to appreciate as deserving better facilities in the way of comfort and mileage per tyre. At this time the company was only producing solid tyres.

In 1905, Harvey Firestone, a great horse lover, purchased a Maxwell car in order to test a new idea in connection with pneumatic tyres – the elimination of the clincher type rim in favour of wire beaded edges.

The following year Henry Ford marketed a cheap runabout car, and Firestone bettered by $15 the $70 quotation for a set of four tyres by the rival companies who had formed a ring, and prepared to meet the delivery schedule of 6,000 tyres, a hitherto unexpected quantity for the firm to have to produce.

By 1907 the spring catalogue listed detachable rims and further demand was made in 1908 with the advent of the model-T Ford; serious mass production was beginning and further impetus was given to the Firestone Tyre Company, who supplied the tyres.

And so began the vast concern which we know today, producing all types of tyres for all manner of vehicles, and rubber goods in general for simple and complex applications.

Advertising Manager: NG. Winter, Firestone Tyre & Rubber Co. Ltd., Brentford, Middlesex.


The story of Goodyear is a cross-section of the history of rubber and tyres, and the entire development of the great rubber industry today, based upon the discovery by Charles Goodyear in 1839 of vulcanisation, has taken place within the corporate lifetime of the Goodyear Company, founded in 1898. Planned efficiency has marked its career from the early days when experiments were carried out with devices to keep tyres on the cumbersome rims of the cars of 1900. And in 1901 came the adaptable side-flange tyre, the forerunner of the straight-side tyre.

The earlier generation of car users will remember the old beaded-edge tyre, and the introduction of the easily demountable straight-side tyre solved many back-breaking jobs.

A new, multiple-cord tyre was designed in 1913 and, two years later, the first low-pressure tyre was introduced, followed by a practical balloon tyre in 1924 and followed up in 1932 with a tyre, the Airwheel, the forerunner of today’s Super Cushion. But undoubtedly among its greatest achievements was the introduction of the High Pressure Giant pneumatic tyre in 1919, without which the rapid and efficient road transport system of today would not have been possible.

After the Goodyear factory had been established in Wolverhampton in 1927, its first tyre being produced on December 15th, the new plant at Wolverhampton became an important factor in local industry by virtue of its increasing reputation for efficiency in production.

Battling its way through the tough days of the early ’30s the factory quickly moved forward with constant expansion, both on the production line and with its buildings. The first soles and heels were manufactured in 1933 and in 1938, after much Goodyear research, a new tyre was introduced for use on the land. Extensive tests had proved the most efficient all-round worker would be the straight bar lugs of the Open Centre Sure Grip and, today, the modern version of this tyre, the Super Sure Grip, has become world famous and accepted everywhere.

When war came Goodyear was able to meet new tyre demands which overall accounted for 32,693,748 tyres made in Britain alone. The return of peace saw the demand still further accelerated. Earthmoving machinery was becoming a dominating factor in the reconstruction of a new Britain, and giant tyre requirements necessitated the production of such huge tyres as the Hard Rock Lug, the Hard Rock Bib, the Sure Grip Mutton Leg, and the All-Weather tyre, each designed for its own individual earthmoving application, and often costing more than £1,000 each.

By adaptation, replanning, and extension, the Wolverhampton factory grew rapidly to tackle the fantastic post-war boom in production needs, and in this period a unit to make Pliofilm (a transparent packaging material) was opened in 1919, and a much-needed addition in the industrial rubber products field came with the opening of a new plant in 1951. In 1953 a new aviation factory at Wallasey began producing wheel and brake equipment.

Still advancement continues for, in 1955, the company announced a substantial expansion scheme to erect new plants and modernise existing facilities within the boundaries of the Wolverhampton factory, and also earmarked additional expenditure for a new tyre-producing factory, which will be among the most modern in Europe, to be built at Glasgow.

Post-war achievements by the Wolverhampton tyre and rubber firm include a revolutionary low pressure tyre called the Super Cushion, the Lifeguard safety tube, an inner tube which gives a car and its passengers complete safety in the event of a sudden tyre failure, and the revolutionary tubeless tyre. In the tubeless range Goodyear produce both for cars and for giant tyre users. In America, Goodyear is producing tubeless tyres for earthmoving vehicles and also a range of tubeless tyres for modern high-speed aircraft.

All varieties of tyres are available from this company, the Tubeless Suburbanite illustrated being but one example retailing at around the £8 mark in a limited range of popular sizes.

Advertising Manager: J. Evans, Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Co. Ltd., Wolverhampton.


Henley’s Tyre & Rubber Co. first began making tyres in 1912, and today they have a modern factory situated on the Thames-side at Gravesend, Kent. The bulk of Henley Tyres are manufactured expressly for everyday use on cars, trucks and buses. Henley’s have never specialised in the production of tyres built for racing as they prefer to concentrate their experience on supplying tyres which will meet every demand likely to be made by the average road user.

The finest ingredients are carefully selected and manufactured into the finished product by an enthusiastic team of skilled workers who are paid for the quality of their work – not merely for quantity.

Henley’s Research Laboratories have always kept abreast of current developments and are now producing a tubeless car tyre in both the S.G. and S.S.G. tread patterns, one of which is illustrated. A comprehensive list of motor car tyres of all sizes is available on request.

Advertising Manager: A.S. Brewer, Henley’s Tyre & Rubber Co., Ltd., 95, Aldwych, London, W.C.2.


Producers of high-quality tyres for a great many years, India offer a complete range in both tubeless and tubed car tyres. The India tyre is a standard model for use under normal conditions, the India Super is for larger, faster cars, the Speed Special for cars driven continually at very high speeds, and finally the Winter type, which is for use in snow or mud where extra grip is needed.

Advertising Manager: R.M. Davis, India Tyre & Rubber Co., Ltd., P.O. Box No. 5, Inchinnan, Renfrew.  Scotland.

John Bull

It was not until 1934 that this firm, previously the Leicester Rubber Company, became a public company under the name of The John Bull Rubber Company, Limited. It was in 1906 that a young man, John Cecil Burton by name, conceived the idea of manufacturing rubber products and he opened a tiny warehouse in Granby Place, Leicester, where he formed the Leicester Rubber Company in conjunction with his younger brother. They began by buying and selling rubber goods, their first transaction being the sale of cycle tyres obtained from the Harburg and Wien Rubber Company.

From this time onwards the firm prospered slowly, business connections were made abroad and a small export trade began. One of the first large contracts was with Denmark for the supply of bicycle tyres and tubes, this was in 1909, the year in which the firm moved to larger premises in Post Office Place, Leicester. In 1910 another large contract for the supply of perambulator tyring was secured, the firm having acquired the patents relating to this commodity which was a simplified product of the then customary tyring which was sold in lengths and had to be joined up.

About the same time the famous “John Bull ” repair outfits came on the market. These became very popular and sales increased to a great extent. By 1915 the company began manufacturing on its own account and the foundations of the great organisation were carefully laid. Much more attention was paid to advertising, presentation of products and as always care was taken to ensure the high quality of the goods.

Late in 1915 production began in the new factory outside Leicester, but it was not until 1923 that thoughts were turned to the manufacture of tyres, although other products were made for cars and cycles. However, in October, 1923, the first John Bull cycle cover was moulded and by 1930 new machinery had been installed for making car tyres.

Expansion continued and more factories were built up, including one at Nowra near Sidney, Australia. Other small concerns are now incorporated in the vast John Bull concern, all producing rubber or metal and rubber components. A good range of heavy-duty tyres for all types of vehicles is now available at very competitive prices.

Publicity Manager: D.R. Burrows, John Bull Rubber Co., Ltd., Evington Valley Mills, Leicester.


The Michelin Tyre Company was formed in the year 1905 by the Michelin brothers. Work began in Sussex Place, South Kensington, in two adjacent houses with a staff of 17 people. By 1909 more space was needed and a move was made to 81, Fulham Road, Chelsea, premises which the firm occupies to this day. Further advances were made during World War I, and orders poured in faster than the staff could cope with them, and by 1925 great strides had been made with headquarters at the factory at Stoke-on-Trent. Then came World War II, with more high-pressure research work and mass production of tyres for war vehicles, but after this major upheaval the company introduced the steel corded tyre which they had been experimenting with for a few years previous to the war and a few years later the Michelin ” X” came out. This tyre gained immense popularity because it gives a much greater mileage before requiring replacement, it gives better roadholding in wet weather and is very silent in use. These covers are available in sizes to suit most popular British cars.

Advertising Manager: L.W. Janssens, The Michelin Tyre Co., Ltd., Michelin House, 81, Fulham Road, London, S.W.3.

North British

Founded in 1856 by a small group of Americans who realised that the patent laws of vulcanisation in England did not at that time apply to Scotland. Rubber footwear was the first product, followed by general rubber products. The patent for belting was taken out in 1859.

Milestone was in 1870 when through R.W. Thomson’s tyre invention wheels of a traction engine were covered with rims of vulcanised rubber. In 1890 was invented the first detachable pneumatic tyre in this country by W.E. Bartlett, General Manager of The North, British Rubber Company. The Bartlett-Clincher patent revolutionised the tyre industry and becarne the basis of all future tyre developments.

Through two world wars, North British Rubber gave outstanding service to industry and the armed forces. In 1946 the company entered into an agreement with the United States Rubber Company of America exchanging research and technical developments. In January, 1955, was started the manufacture in this country of U.S. Royal tyres, a development which has been highly successful. The company has now an additional factory at Heathhall, Dumfries – once the home of the Arrol-Johnston car – where all rubber footwear manufacture is concentrated.

The U.S. Royal De Luxe and the U.S. Royal 8 are examples of the luxury tyres offered by this concern.

Publicity Manager: T.W. Davie, The North British Rubber Co., Ltd., Castle Mills, Edinburgh, 3.


Pirelli, Ltd., England, is one of the world-wide group of Pirelli companies, with factories in the Argentine, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, England and Spain. This group is connected with the Pirelli S.p.A. group of factories in Italy. Pirelli, Ltd., was first registered in Great Britain in 1909, with the purpose of importing and distributing Pirelli goods in the United Kingdom. In 1929, the factory at Burton-on-Trent was completed and the manufacture of Pirelli tyres and other rubber products commenced. Today the range of tyres produced include Car, Giant and Scooter Tyres. The company has just embarked on a considerable expansion programme and it will be interesting to see what future developments lie ahead.

Advertising Manager: R.W. Hotoph, Pirelli, Ltd., Pirelli House, 343-345, Euston Road, London, N.W.1.


In 1934 retreading in Great Britain was not held in very high repute.

At this time the “Tyresoles” process known in America as the “Hawkinson” system was introduced into Great Britain by the Simon Engineering Group. In the first instance, the “Tyresoles” section was a most modest department, but in 1936 was formed as a separate company. A high quality product backed by a rigid inspection standard and high mileage rapidly established “Tyresoles” in the forefront of retreaders.

During the years up to the war expansion both at home and overseas went ahead very rapidly. The standstill years of the war had the effect of convincing an ever-wider circle of tyre users of the benefits of reliable retreading. After the war came rapid developments. Nearly 40 factories at home and over 100 factories throughout the world were producing the “Tyresoles” process. (The figure is exclusive of the 500 plants operating in North America.)

In 1949 the introduction of “Wyresoles” steelclaw tread made an impact on the motoring world. Rally enthusiasts were quick to realise the potential of this road-gripping tread which the Road Research Laboratories found gave as much as 40 per cent. better road grip on slippery wet surfaces.

The interest of the discriminating competition motorists culminated in the achievement of Maurice Gatsonides, who won the 1953 Monte Carlo Rally on “Tyresoles.” Again, in 1955 Capt. Malling repeated the performance which confirmed again the reliability of the retreaded tyre treated by the reputable retreader.

In April, 1953, it was announced that Tyresoles, Ltd., had become a member company of the Dunlop Organisation.

In 1954 the new “Tyresoles Plus” process was introduced. By this process all the unique features of “Tyresoles” with its reliability are retained, but in addition the reconditioned tyre is given an appearance equal to a new tyre.

The process a retreading tyres has become so well known to motorists and commercial vehicle users that an article on tyres would be out of place without some mention of this interesting process. “Tyresoles” of Wembley are renowned for their excellent reconditioned tyres and a visit to the factory confirmed the care and attention which are applied from start to finish in this process. First, the casings are inspected for flaws, as much as 30 per cent. of those submitted being rejected, then they are lightly buffed to provide a key for the new tread which is rolled on as a flat strip, after which a curing ring is fitted, this ring carrying the required tread pattern. Steam is then passed through the ring to vulcanise the new tread. Wires are fitted into the curing ring for the “Wyresoles” process before vulcanising should the customer require the added grip that these designs offer. Finally, the “Tyresoles Plus” treatment is available which consists of adding a thin coating of rubber sheet to the tyre casing for the sake of appearance, making the article resemble a new cover at only approximately half the cost. A point to note in this procedure is that only the actual tread is subjected to the full vulcanising heat, the tyre walls do not receive high temperature treatment, which has been found, in certain cases, to be detrimental to the interior fabric. The cost of retreading a 500-16 tyre, for example, amounts to £3 9s. – a considerable saving on £5 17s., which is an average price quoted for a similar article new.

Publicity Manager: D. McBride, Tyresoles, Ltd., Palace Of Engineering, Wembley, Middlesex.


Carrying the development of tyres a stage further back still, to the fabric cords which are the backbone of any tyre, the name of Courtaulds is encountered as principal producers of high tenacity rayon cord now incorporated in 95 per cent. of the world’s tyres. It was first developed by Courtaulds in 1936 and later put into largescale production during the war years owing to the shortage of imported cotton and because it was found to be very suitable for use in conjunction with synthetic rubber.

Rayon proved to be a more suitable reinforcement material than cotton because it was stronger and more uniform, had better fatigue and heat resistance, and in contrast to cotton it increased in strength on losing moisture. Rayon is a cellulose product made by the extrusion of a solution of cellulose obtained from wood fibres. Other uses for this product, which comes under the trade name of “Tenasco,” are in conveyor belts, power transmission belts, universal joint discs, hose pipes and rayon seat covers.

Public Relations Officer: K. Hibbs, Courtaulds, Ltd., 30, Newgate Street, London, E.C.1.

Representative Tyre Prices