Dan Killecuts earlire thread about 'rock hard' tires prompted me to take a pic of my spare on my 1919 T Runabout. Its a Samson tire and rim that my neighbor gave me over 20 years ago when I was looking for a rim for a spare to use for my 1919.
So here it is! Rock hard and still holding air.
I was thinking of removing it and putting on a new or better tire but I am afraid the rim will be rusted up to badly.
After seeing Dans after he cut the old tire off his maybe I will get lucky.
But as long as it holds air I think I will leave it alone.
What would happen if I mount it on the car and run it?
Anybody still using rock hard tires? Anybody have pics of their rocks? Tires that is!
And by the way the tire carrier is not correct for the Runabout. Its the only one I had at the time when I restored the car. I think the correct carrier is a complete circular style.
4 'brand new' (probably 60+ year old), Wards Riversides on mine.
Surface cracking but no serious cracks, (I keep a real close eye on them). I'm a Viet Nam Vet, I'm not real happy about having to buy new tires from The People's Republic of Viet Nam. Also, my ol girl still needs a whole lot of work (front end rebuild, rear end rebuild, etc.) So I seldom drive her more than 5 miles from home and rarely above 35 mph.
I had 40 year old Wards Riverside tires on my '15 about 10 years ago. I was on a tour with the Nokin T club that went from Cincinnati up to the Wright Brothers former home near Richmond Indiana and back, about 115 miles round trip. On the return trip, the temperature was about 90 degrees, and we were running about 35 MPH when the right rear tire started throwing foot long pieces of tread.
I had to use a hack saw to cut the tire off the rim on the side of the road. Never had a flat, but the tire was disintigrating and way out of balance. If I had driven any further it would have blown out.
I know others may disagree, but I did not put my rock hard spare on the ground. When I got my cay my spare was so hard I thought that the tire was a solid tire. That tire was so hard that it would not have any traction and I was afraid that the cord was so rotten that the tire could shatter if it was air up to the proper pressure. I put a used tire that did not have much tread but was softer and I knew the cord was not rotten. I have needed to use the spare on several occasions and have not regretted my decision. Remember safety is paramount.
Just my two cents
To the question of should a very old or "rock hard" tire ever be aired up enough to put on a car and driven? The most important factor is whether the casing cords are cotton or some synthetic like nylon. Minor age cracking of the rubber can allow moisture from humidity or rain to get inside the tire casing (a natural process). Cotton cord will rot as a result of this moisture and become very weak. I had a tire explode at about 25psi once because of this.
For all practical purposes, most synthetic cords, especially nylon, do not rot as a result of water. They do break down and weaken from UV or direct sunlight. A nylon cord tire can be "rock hard" and severely age cracked and still be strong enough to drive on safely with a couple of cautions. One caution being what Royce mentioned. I, too, have driven very old tires that started throwing their tread. Mostly this has been done on my old '60s pickup truck.
The other major caution is as Steve T mentioned. The traction is not as good. Under most low speed conditions, this should not be a major concern. But it could be, especially in the rain.
One other problem is that many tires do not tell you what the cord is. I have a 30 to 40 year old Olympic tire that is cotton cord. There is very little age cracking. But I was unable to mount it without ripping the bead in several places. Turns out I can rip the casing with my bare hands. Many model T tires are nylon cord. I think Ward's Riverside went to nylon cord in the '50s. I do have two Riverside tires that predate nylon cord.
If a tire is much more than a half century old, and not something like Ward's riverside that remain really common, one should consider saving it as part of model T history. I have several tires that I am preserving. They are being mounted on cleaned and painted bad clincher rims for display and kept in darkish areas of my garages. I made a comment on www.oldmotor.com a week or so ago about one because they posted an ad for one of tires I have.
That Samson tire I would probably save. Although I don't think it is as old as the ones I am saving
A tale of "don't do this at home". Actually, you cannot do this with radial tires because they will eat themselves up from the inside out long before they can do this. I still prefer bias ply for tires in general.
One time my dad and I had a bet on whether the outer edge of the tread was going to all come off a tire or the last of the center of the tread would wear through to the cords first. It was declared a draw after several months because it broke through to the cord later, within a day of the last piece of the corner coming loose.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I have a 24 with 2 Wards Riverside on the rear that were put on in 1967 I don't know about the front Wards Riverside they were on the car from a previous owner. the tread is still good and they are still pliable well at least since I patched a flat last year.there are at least 20000 miles on the rear tires. I guess the old rubber they used is not the same as the new Wonder rubber they are making them out of today.
I'm running 51 year old Wards Riverside tires on my Runabout with great results. Just don't make sharp, hard movements and everything will be fine. My spare is a new Vietnam Wards Riverside. When my tires are nearly worn out, one of them will become the spare and then, I will only have to buy three tires instead of four.
My 14 has one Western Auto tire on it. I believe my uncle installed it and its mate in the mid-50's when he re-furbished the car. What I don't know is if he installed new or used tires at that time. He worked a second job at that time at a gas station and would tell us kids how he would invert the "empty" oil cans to catch the last few drips out of each can and save the dregs of the cans until he had enough for an oil change on his own car.
The mate to the one on my car went flat 5 years ago due to a tube failure and after driving a mile home flat is was quite pliable and was easy to dismount.
I have two NON SKID made in USA rock hard tires on rims, l have driven on them, but would not know how long they'd last being driven regularly.
Tread is almost full, didn't see a lot of road use.
I have 4 26/27 wood wheels with WW 2 S3 tires on them, they are not on a car but still hold air.
Should we try them?
I ran a really old Fisk for hundreds of miles, it started losing chuncks of tread and finally went flat. Yes it was rock hard. I cut it off and the rim was in very good shape. I was surprised. Anyone know when Fisk tires ceased production Of 30x3 1/2?
Bill in Adelaide mentioned Western Auto tires. So I need to ask something I have been wondering about.
Anyone have a really good idea of how many "historic treads" have been re-popped? (Should I say re-"popped" on a thread about old tires?)
I have two used Western Auto (?) tires that look like early sidewall/name design. But they look way too nice and pliable to be really old. I would guess they are re-pops. I also have a Western Auto tire mounted and displayed in my garage that looks way older and is hard as a brick. However the sidewall/name design does not look as early.
I have one of those Western Auto tires mounted on the mostly '13 speedster. The other one is waiting for its rear wheel to be finished.
I also have a pair of I think a Goodyear design that I believe were re-popped a few decades ago. I plan on using them on my '15 runabout. I have seen a few other Ts in recent years with identical looking tires. I cannot imagine that they could be all that old. 30 years maybe.
Anyway. How many old designs have been copied?
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Also, John K, I was doing a little looking around about old tires on the www and found an ad for Samson Tires from about 1921. I'll need to see if I can "lift" them. It was close to an ad for my Hood Red Arrow tire. The Hood ad showed my tires tread design, and was also from 1921.
Fisk Tire Company was purchased by United States Royal Rubber company (Uniroyal today) in 1940, at which time the Fisk brand disappeared. If you have a 30 X 3 1/2 tire with the Fisk name on it you should not drive on it.
They don't make um like they used to!! I had to replace the Riversides on my hack before the last tour because I started to see some significant cracks just above the rim and we were in the hottest part of the summer. They were put on when the car was restored in 1954. I put the new Riversides back on. Do you think they will last 59 years??
I will try to post some pics of my tire Its a Western Giant Cord by Western Auto. Yes I know the wheel should be a round fellow but someday in the future.
We purchased our 1912 Buick Roadster in 1958. At that time it had some old Gehrig tires mounted on it. Here is a picture taken two years ago and it still has those tires on it. I estimate the tires at being 60 years old when this picture was taken. Clem Heiser sold those tire all through the 50's into the 60's.
We purchased our 1913 Cadillac in 1960 and at that time took some very old tires off of it by using a hack saw and replaced them with Gehrig tires that are still on the car to this day.
Bill in A,
That looks exactly like the two I have that I cannot believe to be all that old. I like the large lettering on the sidewall. I do not believe Western Auto made 30X3.5 tires late enough to be as nice as the pair I have, therefore I would expect them to be some sort of reproduction. As far as I know, Wards was the last of the original tire runs. I think they ended in the very early '70s. By then, there were several companies making tires catering to antique automobiles. Sears Allstate and Western Auto had stopped I think in the mid'60s. I suppose they could have used that large lettering near the end of production, but I would think that unlikely. The two good Western Giant Cord tires I have are in much nicer condition than several Firestones and Ward's Riversides I have that are from the early to late '70s.
The one I have that is hard as a brick has smaller lettering on it.
Neat tire. Thanks for the photo!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
My uncle was a very good friend of the owner of the Western Auto store in Paso Robles in the 50's and 60's. I am guessing that he bought or was given them as old stock when he was restoring the car in the mid-50's.
I blew it. (tire humor again)
The website to which I referred above is www.theoldmotor.com
I hate it when I do that.
Your picture of the Sampson tire on a demountable rim is exactly what I have on my 1919. In fact I have five of them!
They were put on the car before 1964. When we pulled it out of storage a few years ago all we did to the tires was add air
Since then I have replaced two tubes - one because of a leak (failed patch) and the other because a valve stem got elephantitus.
I quickly learned that the sun and plastic bags for mounting were my best friends.
I will be getting 4 new tires sometime soon just to be safe because the surface cracks like Bill shows on his Wards tires bother me
By the way your Sampson looks better than any of mine
The tube in the mate to the tire pictured failed and I drove the car over a mile with a flat tire. The flat tire did not shred or throw any rubber on the drive home and actually wound up being quite pliable. I was tempted to use it BUT I had a new tire waiting!
A friend of mine bought a '27 Chevrolet about the time I bought my first car, a '26 Ford. This was in '52. He still has his car which has the same tires on it as when he bought it. These have to be fairly hard by now. We drove these cars to high school. My car was burned in an arson fire but the Chevrolet is still running maybe once or twice a year.
Thanks Fred D about the Samson Tire info. The tires you have and the Samson I have as a spare must have been put on no earlier than the 30's?
I aquired the one I have in the late 60's or early 70's as best as I remember. I earlier stated I got it around 20 years ago which is incorrect as I got the tire and rim long before I had the Runabout together. Time flies!
Here is a pic of a Gulf 21" tire that I got when I inherited my 24 Coupe in 1958. The Coupe had 21"
Model A wheels on it and my Grandfather had a few old tires he kept for spares. It has to be at least 70 yrs. old as I almost threw it away in the 60's because it was cracked so bad
It appears to have been a white wall or maybe somebody painted it but it looks to be a factory white whitewall? Not sure on this one.
Anybody know if any car maker had 21" wheels on their cars later than the early 30's?
The Sampsons on my T were the second set my dad installed The first were put on in the mid fifties when the car was restored (the car came without tires because they were stolen during the war) and replaced with the Sampsons sometime before 1964.
When we picked up the car in 2005 My mom mentioned that the tires should be in good condition because they been replaced
I am doing this on my iPhone and will try to get try to get a picture of the tires when I get to my real computer