Added: (Tue Mar 26 2002)

Pressbox (Press Release) - A British county surveyor Edgar Purnell Hooley revolutionised our roads when he invented tarmac and patented it 100 years ago on 3 April 1902. The invention made travelling easier. The days of dirt tracks, which became impassable in the wet or “macadamised” roads made from crushed stones, which caused punctured tyres, were over.

The inspiration for Edgar Hooley’s invention came when he noticed a smooth stretch of road in Denby, Derbeyshire. On asking how this had been achieved, he was informed that a barrel of tar had accidentally fallen off a dray. To cover the tar, slag from the blast furnace at a nearby iron works had been added on top. In 1902 Edgar Purnell Hooley from Nottinghamshire patented the process of heating tar adding slag or macadam to the mix then breaking stones within the mixture to form a smooth road surface.

In 1903 Edgar Purnell Hooley formed TarMacadam (Purnell Hooley’s Patent) Syndicate Ltd and registered TarmacŪ as a trade mark. Edgar Hooley may have made a brilliant invention but it was not until Sir Alfred Hickman, a Wolverhampton steel manufacturer bought the patent rights that it took off, making use of slag, a byproduct of the steelworks. Sir Alfred Hickman became very prosperous with his new company Tarmac Ltd, which remains successful today. TarmacŪ is still a registered trade mark.

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For more information on intellectual property, visit the Patent Office website at www.patent.gov.uk or contact the Patent Office Central Enquiry unit on 08459 500505.

Patents can be viewed from the Patent Office website via the Esp@cenet database.

Issued by Prowse & Co on behalf of The Patent Office

For more information please contact Deborah Fields / Vicki Fletcher on 01372 363 386 or email to deborah@prowse.co.uk / vicki@prowse.co.uk .

News release is available online at

25 March 2002

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