How to Soften single tube tires?

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Drosentreter

Wore out three sets of tires already!
I may end up with this Mead Crusader, and I’d really like to save the original tires, or at least the ones on it. I’ve heard guys talk about saving these tires by soaking and massaging them, but how?

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Late To The Party

Look Ma, No Hands!
In the museum world we slowly fill things like this with inert beads or formwork if there is an access area (if not we often cut one on a side unseen) that push them to the correct shape from the inside out. As a Graduate School intern twenty years ago at Smithsonian Air and Space Museum I did this to the Apollo 11 flotation ring that the frog-men put around the capsule and inflated with compressed air tanks when it splash landed. Obviously for display only after this type of treatment.
(the air bags above were done by a 80+ year old volunteer similarly over a framework to hold their inflated shape, that project was extremely difficult)

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New Mexico Brant

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
I know the answer to this question(old rubber and such) but why not?
These tires will never soften and have flexibility like new rubber; they are 100 + years old. The methods explained will only slightly soften them at best. The most likely scenario will be they soften when heated so you can massage them into shape for display but will harden after they cool. If you want rideable tires, remove these and sell them to offset the cost of a pair of Robert Deans that will serve you well for years.
Ride the originals and you will destroy them within a ride or two and they will have zero value.
 
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