A SIMPLE IDEA
How simple ideas can change the world.
In 1888, while watching his son ride a tricycle, John Boyd Dunlop noticed his sons discomfort whenever he rode over cobbled ground.
He knew the tricycle's solid rubber tyres were to blame. The solution? He wrapped the wheels in thin rubber sheets, glued them together, inflated them for a cushioning effect - and created the first commercially viable pneumatic tyre.
Dunlop patented the idea, giving his fledgling Dunlop Tyre Company a head start over automotive competitors. Ten years later, Dunlop's invention had almost entirely replaced solid tyres worldwide.
In 1889, Dunlop opened its first tyre plant in Dublin and its first factory in Birmingham. From there, Dunlop's growth from pioneer to the world’s most successful Multinational Tyre Corporation was swift. It established operations in Germany, France, Canada, Australia, USA, and production facilities throughout the globe, for example, Japan's first ever tyre plant at Kobe.
By the 1920s, Dunlop had developed tyres capable of speeds over 200 mph - heralding its longstanding relationship with motorsport. During the 1950s Dunlop tyres achieved an unrivalled Sixty Six Formula One wins with eight world champions.
Following its success in Formula 1 and being the world leader in motorsport tyres, 1976 heralded the next major step for Dunlop with the development and manufacture of its first Go Kart tyres at its Motorsport headquarters in Kobe Japan.
Success was almost immediate with Dunlop winning its first Karting World Championship in 1979, followed by a further 6 consecutive World Championships and the total today is upwards of 20.
Dunlop’s performance on two wheels is equally impressive. Between 1993 and 1997, Dunlop clocked up 117 World Grand Prix wins. In 2001, Dunlop stamped its authority on the international scene by taking all three podium places at the World Supersport Motorcycle Championship. In 2002, it won its 100th consecutive 250cc GP and then celebrated its 12th consecutive World Championship title in that category.