Whilst working as a broker in New York, Stephen Moulton met the man who discovered the rubber vulcanisation process – Charles Goodyear. Moulton brought samples of Goodyear’s ‘Improved Rubber’ to Europe, and, having failed to interest the existing rubber companies he decided to enter the business himself. He purchased a derelict mill and the grand, but decaying, house that overlooked it and founded his own rubber manufacturing enterprise.
This is the unlikely story of how Bradford on Avon became a rubber town – a tale of courage and conviction, of legal wrangles, financial juggling, technical innovation and industrial progress. Moulton’s factory, the Kingston Mills, became the world’s centre of production for ‘railway rubber’; including all manner of springs, hoses, glands, seals and gaskets. It employed almost all of the working-age population of Bradford for nearly 150 years. Its customers included Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Sir Nigel Gresley; and its reputation was built upon unstinting quality and the maxim that “Nothing but the best must leave the factory.”
Our guest speaker, Dan Farrell, is the author of the book ‘Riding on Rubber’ which details why the rubber industry came to Bradford and how it flourished here. Dan is Technical Lead at the Moulton Bicycle Company and worked with Dr Alex Moulton for several years.
The setting for this talk will be the historic study (on the ground floor) at The Hall, Bradford on Avon.
You can read more about Bradford’s rubber industry here.