Page:The Cycle Industry (1921).djvu/68

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The firm responsible for the manufacture of the first tyres—the Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre and Booth's Cycle Agency—was a small concern in Dublin dealing originally in bicycles. They were joined by the late Mr. Harvey Du Cros, father of the racing cyclists, and his astute business management saw that the concern would have to move to the heart of the industry. Premises were taken in Coventry; previously bicycle manufacturers were compelled to send the wheels to Dublin.

At Coventry commenced an industry which has grown from small undertakings until now the Dunlop Rubber Co.'s factories, etc., occupy acres of ground in Birmingham, Coventry and elsewhere, and an enormous new works is in course of erection near Birmingham.

As at Dublin, owing to the special handling that the tyres required, the cycle makers had to send their wheels to the tyre factory to be fitted, and the Dunlop carts were soon careering about Coventry collecting the tyreless wheels and delivering them, fitted, to the various factories.

The repair of the original Dunlop tyre was a process that the average cyclist undertook with fear and trepidation. A puncture necessitated peeling back the solutioned tread of the cover, slitting the canvas across, withdrawing the air tube and fixing the patch, replacing the air tube, stitching up the slit in the canvas with needle and thread, re-fixing the rubber tread and re-inflating. Cyclists were not all neat hands at this job and wheels would be seen revolving with huge blobs on the tyres, where the amateur sewing and repairs were too weakly done to prevent the air tube bulging out the canvas and rubber cover. Result, inexperienced riders allowed the boil or blob to hit the forks time after time as the wheels revolved, until the friction wore