Stoke-on-Trent - Advert of the week
Michelin Tyres - 1957 advert
Stoke-on-Trent City Handbook
Prestige and Progress - A
Survey of Industrial North Staffordshire
1955 publication of North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce - page 36
MEN of RUBBER
Brilliant technology has made North Staffordshire
It is not without significance that the North Staffordshire region has attracted a variety of industries quite unrelated to those of which it is traditionally famous. For North Staffordshire has an inherently industrious and versatile population, and it is also excellently placed for the supply of raw materials and for distribution.
A major industry now firmly established here is rubber. Two world-famous firms have chosen to settle in Stoke-on-Trent, and both have expanded unceasingly in the last ten years.
One of these companies, which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year, came to Stoke-on-Trent in 1927, and has now one of the biggest factories in the area. It started with 500 workers; now there are several thousand. The original buildings have been enlarged and modernised until the workshop floor .space now totals about 1,250,000 square feet.
When the last war came this factory geared production to an all-out war effort. It found the space and time to turn out tank transporters undercarriages for snow-ploughs, radio location trailers and many machine parts. Space was even found for the assembly of nearly 5,000 vehicles. Another war-time achievement was the design and production of a tyre built specially to the order of the Ministry of Supply for use on amphibious landing-craft. This tyre had to he capable of high speed on the road and yet give the tractive effort necessary to negotiate beaches of soft sand. It stood up to all that was asked of it on the Normandy beaches, in Holland and in the Rhine Basin during the European campaign.
Feat in the desert
In another new tyre there is a greater change a radical change of principle. In this tyre the function of the walls and that of the tread have been made quite separate, so that each can perform its role without influencing the other. The walls bear the load flexibly, while the tread, stiffened transversally by three layers of steel cords, neither drifts nor shuffles—the main cause of tread wear.
Production at this factory includes bicycle tyres, car tyres, motor-cycle tyres, and tyres for commercial vehicles in ever-increasing quantities, swelling a flourishing home trade and feeding a seemingly insatiable demand from Commonwealth and other countries. The steel-corded tyre in particular is proving itself a mighty dollar-earner.
Beating a blockade
A war-time need to find additional factory space was the primary reason why the other famous rubber company became established in Stoke-on-Trent in 1941.
So the company decided to remain in the Potteries after the war and to expand its activities, and in 1947 took over another factory. It was necessary to carry out extensive alterations and modernisation, and in the process model working conditions were provided.
A great variety of products are made in the post-war factory, among them special equipment for the Admiralty, such as "frogmen's suits" and equipment for the Air Ministry for use in jet aircraft. The manufacture of lastex yarn and lactron thread, now widely used in the textile trade, forms an important part of the output.
The rubber industry is highly competitive and at the present time is undergoing rapid development. The more recent arrival of Stoke's two rubber companies has taken a notable part in the research into raw materials, including natural rubber, synthetic rubber, plastic materials allied to rubber, and materials such as rayon, nylon and other man-made textiles.
It, too, has developed in an atmosphere of cordiality. There arc all up-to-date amenities for the thousand employees, and the management is proud that the factory it has occupied since 1941 has a record of 185 years without a single strike.