Could anyone tell me dates Hayes and Dayton wire wheels 30x3 1/2 were introduced. What year or which are older.
Thank you in advance.
Have re;posted in correct forum
Dayton advertises that they have been in business since 1916. A quick googling was able to find patent and trademark references from as early as 1920-21.
I have this patent drawing from Henry House Jr. (eventually Buffalo) from 1916-17. But like Dayton, I've only found sales ads from about 1920-21.
I did come across this article on Google Books from 1917 that discussed a new Hayes wire wheel manufacturing plant in Detroit.
Seems to me that these 3 companies all came to be in the wire wheel business about the same time frame. Not sure if there was a much earlier company, like maybe Pasco or Spranger.? Maybe Layton will chime in with some insight...?
This information is from the application to include the buildings at 1700 Elmwood, Buffalo, NY on the Register of Historic Buildings:
George W. Houk (1865-1917), “father of the wire wheel in America.”
The nominated buildings are intimately associated with the American entrepreneur George W. Houk, whose career, stated one obituary, “was filled with action and the romance and endeavor.”
Born in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, in 1865, Houk began his adult life in Elmira, New York, as a salesman of the Eclipse racing bicycle made famous by the English cyclist John Thompson Keen.
In 1892, Houk, who was a persuasive salesman, moved to London. There over a period of twelve years he became wealthy selling this speedy early racing bicycle to many British customers. During this period, he also became interested in the new automobile, and when he returned to America in 1909, having lost his fortune, he first became associated with the Oldsmobile car. In 1913, while living in Philadelphia, he introduced the British Rudge-Whitworth detachable wire wheel to the nascent American auto industry. Earlier in England, the shrewd businessman had secured rights to market and manufacture this novel wheel design in the United States.
Heretofore the wooden wheel had been standard equipment on automobiles, as it had been on horse-drawn carriages for ages prior. Meeting with success and seeing a golden opportunity, the always impulsive Houk left Philadelphia and, with the help of willing investors, established his own business making wire wheels in Buffalo.
Purchasing the factory at 1700 Elmwood Avenue that had been the local home of the defunct McCue automobile company of Hartford, Connecticut, Houk became the first person in America to manufacture wire wheels. The L-shaped building, which had brick walls with an inside exposed steel frame as well as wooden post-and-beam floor and roof supports and which extended south to Grote Street, had originally been erected in 1910 by R. J. Reidpath for the Superior Motor Vehicle Company.
Houk’s business prospered as automobile producers soon recognized the advantages of metal and wire wheels over older wooden spokes and rims. The Houk Manufacturing Company soon was selling its product as an accessory to many car companies in Buffalo and elsewhere. In 1916, a company advertisement in a New York City newspaper declared that “Houck Quick Change Wire Wheels are now standard equipment on the oldest, best equipped, and most influential of the Great American Automobile Manufacturers.”
houk2Wire wheels possessed many advantages over old fashioned wooden wheels. “Statistics prove that use of these wheels effects a savings of at least 15 percent in tire expense and as this then is the most important in automobile up keep the economic value of the wire wheel is self evident,” stated the Buffalo Express in a long article on the subject. The wire wheel was light weight, and thus increased gas mileage while at the same time it dispensed with “sledge hammer” jolts crested when wooden wheels encountered a bump. Wire wheels also kept tires much cooler than wooden wheels because the metal rims and spokes transferred heat away from the rubber tires as they turned.
“The difference in temperature is important,” pointed out the Express, “as heat destroys the durability of the tire.”3 Moreover, wire wheels were much stronger than wooden rims. “The spokes are so arranged,” explained the Express, “that the wheel will not only support the weight of the car, but will likewise withstand the severest side strains resulting from the side sway or skidding of the automobile.” Houk wheels, asserted the Express, were “practically unbreakable.”
When George Houk purchased the former McCue factory complex that bore the address 1700 Elmwood Avenue in 1913 he quickly transformed the structures that had originally been built to make automobile axles into the world’s largest manufactory of wire wheels. A description of the operation published the following year stated that it covered 90,000 square feet of space and employed 500 workmen who turned out 5000 wire wheels daily.
The Great Depression proved to be the swan song of the great wire wheel enterprise. National economic conditions and changing tastes and standards in automobile design conspired to relegate the wire wheel business to the sidelines of the American automobile industry. By 1931, the Wire Wheel Corporation was no longer in business and the Elmwood Avenue-Grote Street buildings were listed as vacant on City records.
In actuality the McCue automobile had been discontinued in later 1911 but the McCue Manufacturing Company continued on. They started making wire wheels and in 1913 McCue wire wheels were offered on Stutz, Henderson, and Keeton automobiles. There could well have been other makes offering them since McCue wire wheels were used on some race cars and offered as aftermarket.
With the purchase of the building came the McCue Manufacturing Company, Mr Houk redesigned the McCue wire wheel for simplicity and manufacturing efficiency and the product out the door became the Houk Wire Wheel. Houk Wire Wheels can be considered a new introduction for the 1914 model year ( fall of 1913). The building in question was already a player in the manufacture of wire wheels when Mr. Houk showed up on the scene.
This thread is a duplicate of one on the discussion forum. Let's continue it there.