Design Story: 1887 John Dunlop's Pneumatic Tyres

Northern Ireland has a rich heritage of designers and inventors, of creative thinkers and innovators. This Design Week we thought we would share some of their stories and celebrate this heritage.

Our first story is an old one in 1887 Scots born, Belfast based John Dunlop’s air filled tubes revolutionised transportation. Previously cobbled streets and wooden wheels made cycling very uncomfortable. Dunlop’s son asked him to make his tricycle’s solid rubber wheels more comfortable so Dunlop pumped up his garden hose to create the first pneumatic tyre. Ireland’s cycle racing elite dominated with Dunlop tyres before automobiles drove them to global dominance.

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