Page:The Cycle Industry (1921).djvu/67

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53
THE PNEUMATIC AND OTHER TYRES

It will suffice to say that he made an experimental pneumatic tyre, in which the air was compressed in an elastic inner tube of rubber provided with a crude non-return valve for inflation and surrounded with a non-stretchable casing of canvas, the latter being covered with an india-rubber tread to take the friction of the road. The rim was very nearly flat in section, and to build the tyre the air tube was partially inflated and laid on the rim; around rim and tube was built the canvas casing by solutioning canvas strips to canvas already solutioned to the metal. Over it all more solution was rubbed in by hand and then came the fixing of the cover, which was also solutioned to the canvas casing and nearly encircled the rim. The edges were finally solutioned down with a thin piece of canvas, afterwards painted to resist the attack of water.

I was not privileged to see Mr. Dunlop's first attempt, but I saw one of the first of these very crude tyres made by the Dunlop Tyre and Booth's Cycle Agency, Dublin, on a tricycle ridden to Coventry by Mr. R. J. Mecredy, the editor of the Irish cycling and motoring papers and, of course, a renowned cyclist.

The tyres were quite unknown, and when the tricycle was left outside a hotel (not in the centre of the city) for ten minutes, a crowd of 400 or 500 people were found pushing each other to obtain a sight of it.

Within a few months everybody in the city knew all about pneumatic tyres. The Du Cros brothers, an athletic family of Dublin, commenced to race on bicycles fitted with them, and very soon handicappers had to give racing cyclists on solid tyres a considerable start if riders of pneumatic tyred machines were entered. Within a year of the commencement of the serious manufacture of pneumatic tyres no racing man of any pretensions troubled to compete on anything else.