Born in 1840, Dunlop studied and actually practiced veterinary surgery for ten years before moving to Ireland.
In 1887, Dunlop developed the first practical pneumatic tire for his son's tricycle, an invention he claimed provided more comfort and grip. However, his patent was later declared invalid because Robert William Thomson had patented the idea of rubber strips on wooden rims in 1846-1847.
Dunlop's tire became an instant hit and made history, although it generated far less revenue than expected. The Michelin brothers' removable pneumatic tire, introduced in 1891, proved to be much more successful.