Tarmac was first used on the surface of roads by accident by Nottingham based county surveyor Edgar Hooley, if you briefly looked through history it would be easy to assume it was “Scot” John McAdam.
John McAdam did invent the method of crushed stone as a surface but he couldn’t make them stick, which was perfectly fine when motor vehicles were not on road and it was still horse and cart, however when motor vehicles became popular the rough stones would puncture tyres on a regular basis, so it was clear something had to change.
Edgar Hooley was working as a county surveyor in 1901, whilst out walking in Denby he noticed what appeared to be a smooth stretch of road surface close to an ironworks, when he asked locals about the surface he was advised a barrel of tar had fallen from a dray and broken, to cover up the mess someone from the nearby furnace had poured waste slag over the mess.
In 1902 Edgar Hooley patented the process of heating tar and adding the slag mixture with broken stones to form a smooth road surface.
Hooley perfected the surface which proved to be what we now class as tarmac, Nottingham’s Radcliffe Road becoming the first in the world which was a full five mile stretch of road.
1903 Tar Macadam Syndicate Ltd
During 1903 Edgar Hooley went on to form Tar Macadam Syndicate Ltd, registering Tarmac as a trademark.
However he was no businessman and just couldn’t sell the product, the company was bought by then Wolverhampton MP Sir Alfred Hickman. He was also the owner of steelworks which co-indecently produced plenty of slag which was needed for the product of Tarmac.
The Tarmac Company which we see as a major company to this day was formed after a re-launch in 1905 after becoming an immediate success.
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