Some History of the Uniroyal site

  • The Morgan and Wright Tire Company was the largest bicycle tire manufacturer in the world during the 1890s.
  • They moved their factory from Chicago to Detroit in 1906 to start making tires for the growing automobile industry.
  • They eventually became a division of the U.S. Rubber Company then Uniroyal Inc.
Illustration of a bicyclist getting a flat tire from the 1896 Morgan & Wright Bicycle catalog
Illustration from the 1896 Morgan & Wright catalog

By now you’ve likely heard the RiverWalk segment between Mt. Elliott Park and Gabriel Richard Park called the Uniroyal site, but why? Since 1906, a large portion of this property has been used for tire manufacturing, the last company bearing the name Uniroyal.

However, there’s an interesting bicycle history connection with this site.

The first company to manufacture tires at this location was Morgan & Wright. They were the largest bicycle tire manufacturer in the world during the 1890’s and located in Chicago. Shortly after the turn of the century, with the end of the Golden Era of Bicycles and the rise of automotive manufacturing, they moved their operations to Detroit. They continued making bicycle tires but primarily manufactured tires for cars and trucks.

This is another example of how the bicycling industry was the parent of the automotive industry. Bicyclists brought many innovations to transportation, including the first use of pneumatic tires, which the auto industry benefitted from.

Last note: As far as we know, Morgan & Wright have no relationship with the Wright Brothers.

3 replies on “Some History of the Uniroyal site”

Leave a Comment