Dealing in Wheeling

By Carrie Blough, Curator, Historical Society of Frederick County | Photography by Turner Photography Studio | Posted on 12.03.13 – History, Timepiece

Winter’s arrival heralds many things—the holidays, time spent with family and snow, for better or for worse. When the white stuff starts falling, many start to panic, and hope their vehicles are prepared for the change in traction. Thus, the start of the winter season is a great time for businesses to begin advertising preparedness for your vehicle. Over the years, a common place to advertise was at the movies. Glass slides were once used at Frederick theaters to showcase coming attractions and advertise local business. Newcomer’s Tire Shop, Markey’s Shoes, Excelsior Dairy and many others tapped moviegoers for their business.

In the early 20th century, tire companies emerged along with the manufacture and sale of automobiles. Newcomer’s, in operation from 1913 to 1930 at 49 E. Patrick St., provided various services for automobiles, including new tires and vulcanizing tires. “Let us vulcanize your tires and save you money,” the company advertised. As rubber tires began to wear, vulcanization provided a way to extend their life through a chemical process that made them harder and stronger.

The processing of rubber into a usable material can be traced to prehistoric eras. Vulcanization, however, was developed in the 19th century by two men, almost simultaneously. Thomas Hancock received a British patent in 1844 and Charles Goodyear was awarded the U.S. patent several weeks later. Although the process has been refined throughout the centuries, it is still a common treatment of rubber.