Dunlop

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The Dunlop company has a long and storied history, which has seen its fair share of ups and downs. Dunlop tyres as we know it today is owned by Goodyear, who still manufacture tyres under the Dunlop name, and the tyres are placed in the top end of the market.

It hasn't always been this way, and Dunlop Rubber was created in 1889 as Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co. Ltc, in Dublin. The company was originally designed to commercialise John Boyd Dunlop's pneumatic tyre, he had designed for the bicycle, and with the tyre winning seven of the first eight races it was ever involved in, Dunlop took off quickly with such a high consumer demand.

Dunlop overstretched themselves, and ended up having to sell off their Australian arm, to a Canadian team of businessmen, and the Dunlop brand is still owned by different people in those two countries.

The company began passenger car tyre production in 1900, and by 1902 had created Dunlop Rubber to manage this process, with their base in Birmingham in the UK. At the end of the First World War Dunlop built Fort Dunlop, which was to become their base for many years, and was one of the largest buildings in the world at the time.

The company quickly went global, and diversified in the 1920s, applying its name to footwear, clothing, and starting an aircraft tyre division. They even added a tennis racket company, a mattress company and a diving suit company.

Dunlop controlled over half of the UK tyre market by 1955, but were penalised for price fixing in association with the other biggest brands in the UK, and were made to drop some of their market share. Dunlop shot themselves in the foot in the 60s when they continued with plans to manufacture textile radial tyres, rather than steel belt ones as manufactured by other companies, and Michelin quickly overtook them on the sales front.

The company briefly merged with Pirelli for the decade between 1971 and 1981, but after that venture failed, Dunlop fell further into debt, and was broken up in the 90s. BTR, who had taken over in 1985 sold the various arms off throughout the 90s.

The tyre arm of the company was purchased in 1985 by Goodyear and Sumitomo Rubber, who still own the company today.

Dunlop still manufacture tyres in their Fort Dunlop factory, although only in one small corner and under the Dunlop Racing brand. Goodyear still use the Dunlop tyre brand to sell tyres all over the world, and Sumitomo now make all of their tyres for the Japanese market under the Dunlop name.