Coming Full Circle: 100 Years of Tyre Promotion

Coming Full Circle: 100 Years of Tyre Promotion

By Elizabeth Talbot


The name Goodyear is synonymous with tyres and pervades the worlds of automobiles, motorcycles, motoring, and motor racing in various ways in our very modern age, but its origins pre-date the petrol engine by some little time. Charles Goodyear (1800 – 1860) was an American self-taught chemist and manufacturing engineer who developed vulcanised rubber. His refined material and manufacture techniques were applied to many products from footwear to tyres from 1844 onwards. So, the Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Company is named after him.


In 1853 Hiram Hutchinson founded the French company Hutchinson, originally to manufacture shoes and boots using patents obtained from Charles Goodyear. In 1890 they started making bicycle tyres, which they are renowned for to this day; and in 1903 they moved into making automotive tyres.

“Shuffrei” was the moniker of artist Reginald Allen Shuffrey (1886-1953), who was a well-known and important illustrator during the years between the first and second world wars. He worked for “The Motor” and “The Autocar” as well as other contemporary motoring magazines.

Featuring in the next Automobilia auction at TW Gaze Diss Auction Rooms on 8 July is a fine copy of Hutchinson’s promotional volume “Tyresome Tales”, published almost 100 years ago to celebrate the top stars of early 20th Century two-wheel speed and their achievements, in collaboration with Hutchinson whose tyres were fitted on their machines. The Hutchinson black cat logo features on each page of the booklet with the motto “The Tyre with Nine Lives”.

‘Tyresome Tales’ begins with A. V. Ebblewhite, the official timekeeper for many racing events in the 1920s, including at Brooklands. He is depicted having to fix his stopwatches as they are unable to cope with the speed that the riders can achieve using Hutchinson tyres. Among the riders included are previous Isle of Man TT winners Howard Davies, Geoffrey Davison, Harry Reed, Cyril Pullin and Tom Sheard. Others are better known for their speed achievements. Bert Le Vack was known as ‘The Wizard of Brooklands’ and held several Motorcycle World Speed Records throughout the 1920s. Victor Horsman features as ‘Tyresome Tale the Tenth’ and the very notable Graham Walker, father of motor racing commentator Murray Walker, is also amongst the select group of 24 men. Graham Walker was a well-respected motorcyclist and achieved much racing success despite a leg injury sustained when he was a dispatch rider in the First World War. He was a significant figure in the history of the National Motor Museum, working alongside Edward, 3rd Baron Montagu, to establish the museum’s motorcycle collection in 1957.

As a piece of of-the-moment commentary, humour and advertising, bound only in paper covers and intended to have limited shelf-life, not many of these delicate works survive. Sale organiser Andre Ling commented, “There is a fully autographed copy in the National Motor Museum, but they don’t surface on the market very often, so for collectors and enthusiasts, especially of TT racing and its history, the auction provides a rare opportunity to acquire something really rather special. Having said that, I have guided the lot at £40 - 60, so it is not an unrealistic aspiration to own it”.

The lot will feature alongside lots of mixed interest automobilia, including car mascots, ephemera, badges, spares, signs, vintage motorcycles and a rare Jaguar XJSS fitted with a Paul Banham kit, as featured in Jaguar World magazine.

The auction will take place on Thursday 8 July. Fully illustrated catalogues will appear on, where information about viewing and Café 1857 can also be found, along with a full auction calendar detailing the three auction days held every week at Diss Auction Rooms. For future consignments of automobilia, please contact Andre Ling