The Great Tread Thread - Pre-1933 Non-Black Tires

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New Mexico Brant

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Lets talk tires! This thread is dedicated to pre-1933 non-black tires. If it solid black or black whitewalls please start another thread. If it is black with a secondary color (not white!) please feel free to post. If it is beige, gray, solid white, red, green, blue, cochineal crimson, or purple please post it up! Any leather tires out there still in existence? Let us please see those too!

Add your special tires, pairs or singles; maybe we can join some singles to form happy couples! Literature is very welcome.

The intent is to advance all our knowledge and hopefully be able to create a solid timeline for individual manufacturers and models.

Regarding black ties; carbon and other elemental chemical additives were being experimented with by tire makers for decades improve durability. Officially it wasn't until around 1917 that carbon was being used in production tires but only then in small amounts so the rubber still did not appear fully black. Tires with carbon first appear off white in color, then varying shades of gray. This doesn’t mean ever tire with the previous mentioned shades have carbon black added; earlier tires in these shades have different additives or may have oxidized over time. There are some internet posts that state B.F. Goodrich the first to starting adding carbon in 1910. (This is unverified and more research needs to be done. In 1910 Goodrich is the first U.S. manufacturer credited with the significant innovation of adding cords to automotive tires; although Goodrich is cited at the first U.S. company to add carbon black, the 1910 date for the additive is in my opinion likely false.) It wasn't until the mid-1920's that these formularies were perfected. Superior to non-carbon tires, black tires became ubiquitous for automobiles and motorcycles. White and white/color combination tires were still be offered for bicycles into the early 1930's.

As often these tires get hard and still there has been a previous trend for collectors to cut these away and discard them. Please stop this practice! No matter how hard, petrified, and flat they seem they have collector value and often can be softened (sometimes just temporarily) and reshaped. Please reach out to Jesse McCauley @Jesse McCauley or myself if you need assistance and consultation regarding hardened tires and how to remove them. DO NOT CUT THEM OFF UNTIL YOU AT LEAST HAVE HAD A CONSULTATION! Even if you think they are ugly they may have value and could pay for a set of tires you find pleasing for your bicycle.

Kind thanks,

Brant

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New Mexico Brant

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
To further the point about black tires in post #1 above, here are pages from a 1921 Hearsey catalog. In the teens they specialized in tires and automotive supplies. Sadly automotive and motorcycle tires were not included in this catalog; likely there was a separate catalog on the subject. Of the 19 different bicycles Hearsey offered in these pages, none had black tires. Of the 21 different bicycle tire offerings, most were white or gray with red treads or all white (none were all black). G & J, U.S. Rubber, and only some of the Hearsey brand offerings were gray (some carbon present) with colored treads. Continental Rubber Works, Erie, PA only offered their model 396 Combo Clincher in all gray; their Vitalic line remained all-white. There were two Hearsey brand tires and a single G & J with white or gray construction and applied black tread.

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New Mexico Brant

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
The holy grail of American made scripted bicycle treads! The Indian Tire; from an original Buenos Aires, Argentina catalog owned by our great CABE leader. Mostly everything Indian in this catalog was exported to South America. It makes one think, a great bicycle hoard could be sitting in another country just waiting to be found! Has anyone seen or own an example of these tires?

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New Mexico Brant

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Here is another personal "holy grail" tire for me: The Lindy Non Skid! These bicycles were produced by Shelby in 1928-29. Reportedly they were not huge sellers, the start of the Great Depression was likely the reason the line was discontinued. The Lindy was Shelby's most expensive bicycle at that time. Solid white or off-white were custom molded specifically for these models.

I would love to purchase a single or pair of these tires for my Lindy! A generous bounty paid to anyone who can put me in touch with any owners of these.


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Tall

Look Ma, No Hands!
When I first brought my 1901-03 Racycle home the first thing I wanted to do was remove the tires and replace with reproductions for the aesthetic appeal. I consulted with @Jesse McCauley and he strongly recommended I not do that so I went with his advice and left them alone. I have since taken a closer look at the tires on the bike and at least one of them seems to be uncommon, The New Departure Road Tire. The other is a Fisk Premium Road Tire (maybe more common?) Jesses' opinion was reinforced by @New Mexico Brant as he informed me that pre-1933 bicycle tires are collectible in any condition.
I had the bike mechanically overhauled and lightly cleaned by @dperry who did an excellent job. He tried putting air in the New Departure tire and it did take the air and took on a better shape but the Fisk would not hold any air.

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