This film is part of Rentals

From Acorn to Oak

A birthday card in film form, celebrating 50 years of the Dunlop pneumatic tyre.

Anthology 1938 5 mins

Director: Montgomery Tully


For the 50th anniversary of JB Dunlop's invention of the pneumatic tyre, the company he founded patted its own back by commissioning this very pleasant commemorative film. The chaps at Merton Park Studios turned in a briskly efficient promo in which gentle, good-humoured reminders of 'boneshakers' of cycling yesteryear give way to an exposition of the range and reach of a modern global business.

The company survey, often marking an anniversary, makes up a not-so-small film genre of its own. It was usually made, as here, with a view to several potential audiences: consumers, employees and, last but definitely not least, shareholders. Merton Park enjoyed a significant presence in pre-war publicity and documentary films making technically and stylistically confident productions free of the ideological motives of the better known 'documentary movement' active in the same period. Director Montgomery Tully later enjoyed a long feature film career. A Dubliner by birth, he sets early sequences of this film in Ulster, where the Dunlop tyre originated - in one scene strangely deploying a southern 'stage Oirish' narration complete with 'begorrahs'.