Willennar Genealogy Center’s collection is full of Throwback Thursday potential, so let’s get our #TBT on!
Auburn’s most well-known for its rich automotive history, but the city wasn’t just home to multiple automobile manufacturers—it was also the location of several automobile parts suppliers, such as the DeKalb Iron Works, the Model Gas Engine Co., and the Double-Fabric Tire Company.
That third company was organized in 1910 by A. L. Murray and our very own William H. Willennar.
Located at 18 West 9th Street, according to an early advertisement, the company manufactured a series of tubes and tires which were designed to “prevent punctures and blow-outs” to “save half your tire expense.”
Some of these tires were “Interlocks,” or were made with “inner tires,” which helped keep the tube of the tire from being cut by the wheel rim. They were also hand-built, cured using a low-heat process, and were made with “Vulco-Tempered” tread, which the company claimed resisted wear so well that “Double-Fabric Tires seldom look as if they had been run more than half the mileage which the speedometer record shows.”
All of them were also advertised to have at least one more ply—a kind of cord embedded in the rubber to help the tire keep its shape—than the same tires of their competitors. The extra plies were a requirement (at least in their advertisements) for a set of tires to be considered anything more than “cheap” or “medium-grade.”
According to John Martin Smith, the company later produced tires under the trade names “Oval” and “Fatso,” and in the early 1920s, sold tires under the “Auburn Certified” name.
Eventually, the company made a shift in its focus and was reorganized in the mid-to-late 1920s as the Auburn Rubber Company, best-known for its production of rubber toys.