Thursday, March 27, 2008

E. Purnell Hooley
Edgar Purnell Hooley (1860 - 1942) is the inventor of Tarmac.
He was the County Surveyor of Nottinghamshire. He was passing a tarworks in 1901. He saw that a barrel of tar had spilled on the roadway, and in an attempt to reduce the mess, gravel had been dumped on top of it. The area was remarkably dust-free compared to the surrounding road, and it inspired Hooley to develop and patent Tarmac in Britain.
He called his company Tar Macadam (Purnell Hooley's Patent) Syndicate Limited, but unfortunately he had trouble selling his product as he was not an experienced businessman. His company was soon bought out by the Wolverhampton MP, Sir Alfred Hickman, the owner of a steelworks which produced large quantities of waste slag. The Tarmac company was relaunched in 1905, and became an immediate success: it remains a major player in the UK market for heavy building materials.


Hooley, E. Purnell, U.S. Patent 765,975 , "Apparatus for the preparation of tar macadam", July 26, 1904.

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