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John Boyd Dunlop


1840 - 1921

Inventor, born into a farming family at Dreghorn (North Ayrshire). Dunlop trained at the Edinburgh Veterinary College and worked in Edinburgh before moving to Belfast (Ireland) in 1867. He made a pneumatic tyre from canvas bonded by liquid rubber for his son's tricycle, which was developed to improve the comfort of cyclists and, much later, motorists. Contrary to popular opinion, Dunlop did not invent the air-cushioned tyre - it was actually invented by Robert William Thomson (1822-73) - although Dunlop was the first to use the word "pneumatic". Dunlop was able to secure patents in Britain (1888) and in the US (1890) and, together with the Irish industrialist W. H. Du Cros, he established what would become the Dunlop Rubber Company. Dunlop did not profit greatly from his invention having sold his interests in the company to Du Cros in 1896.

Dunlop died in Dublin and lies buried in Deansgrange Cemetery there.


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