Charles Kingston Welch – Inventor of the ‘Beaded Rim’ Tyre

1st Owner of 1911 Daimler TA23 – DU 1

Charles Kingston Welch was born in 1861 in Tottenham, London, the eldest of ten children and following early work as a bicycle maker, went on to make a number of inventions which were crucial to the manufacture and development of the pneumatic tyre.  It is said that he was just five feet tall.

By the age of 20 (1881) while still living with his parents in Tottenham he was working as a bicycle maker.  He married Annie Gertrude Borley in Edmonton, North London in 1890. 

In June 1891 (age 30) while still living in Tottenham he applied for his first patent: No 14,563 – Improvements in Rubber Tyres and Metal Rims or Felloes of Wheels for Cycles and other Light Vehicles.  

Later that year he and Annie had moved to Warwick Road in Coventry, which at that time was the home of the British bicycle industry.  He described himself as a Consulting Mechanical Engineer, clearly doing well as they employed three servants.

1893 US Patent
Manufacturing Pneumatic Tires

In 1892 he applied for the next in his series of British patents involved with making pneumatic tyres for bicycles – the first one, an improvement on a machine for making tyres. 

1894 US Patent Pneumatic Tire

In 1893 he invented the  ‘beaded rim’ which stopped deflating tyres from coming off the rim.  He used two inextensible wires ‘solutioned’ into the edges of the outer cover.  By the process of inflating the inner cover these wires embedded themselves in the rim and prevented the covering from blowing off. 

This patent was accepted on 1 September 1894 – No. 18,851. 

By now the Welch family had moved to The Hollies, Eaton Road, Coventry, which is the address listed in most of the Patent Applications.  

He was granted further British patents on 16 March 1895 – No. 9,294 and  22 June 1895 – No. 13,708. 

Patents were granted in France on 2 September 1895; Belgium on 9 September 1895; Denmark on 8 September 1895; Italy on 12 September 1895.   

The United States Patent Office granted Welch a whole series of patents from 1893 to 1897.


1897 US Patent
Elastic Tire
with Beaded Rim



US Patent Number


16 May 1893


Apparatus for manufacturing Pneumatic Tires

10 July 1894


Pneumatic Tire

26 January 1897


Elastic Tire

8 November 1898


Air Valve for Pneumatic Tires

4 July 1899


Metallic Wheel Rim


1898 US Patent
Air Valve for
Pneumatic Tires

These patents were originally used by The Turner Pneumatic Tyre Company (Limited) which in 1897 became part of Amalgamated Pneumatic Tyre Companies Limited who were making tyres under both the Dunlop and Welch patents.  

1899 US Patent
Metallic Wheel Rim

Ultimately the Welch patents were acquired by the Dunlop Company, who employed Charles Welch,  and the Dunlop-Welch pneumatic tyre became famous throughout the world.

The 1911 Census showed Welch still living in Coventry with his wife but living on private means, so presumably now retired. 

He ordered a Daimler TA23 from the Daimler Motor Company which he retained for the next 18 years, until his death in Coventry on 7th December 1929 (aged 68).  The original registration number of this car is not known, but he acquired the registration number of DU 1  which he transferred to his car (although the date of this is not known).

DU 1 is older than the car, as it is the very first mark to have been issued in Coventry under the Motor Car Act of 1903, which decreed that from 1 January 1904, cars must be fitted with number plates.  It is likely that DU 1 was purchased to represent his involvement with Dunlop

His widow, Annie, kept the car until 1946, when she donated it to the Daimler company, at the time that Daimler, and the British motor industry, celebrated its Golden Jubilee. 

Charles Kingston Welch with his 
1911 Daimler TA23 – Registered DU 1

The car has been with Daimler, then Jaguar Cars, following the 1960 takeover by Jaguar of Daimler, ever since.  Ownership of DU 1 was transferred to the  Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust when it was formed in 1983.


Author:  Tony Merrygold 

©  Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust