Story of the Rubber Tire.
So rapidly has the demand for rubber increased of late that the worlds harvest now amounts to 80,000 tons a year, valued at about $150,000,000. and the total value of the manufactured products in which rubber forms a prominent part amounts to several hundred million dollars per year. The best grade of rubber is known as Para, and comes from up the Amazon river, in South America, where it grows wild in immense jungles This rubber has sold as high as $3.15 per pound in New York, and it constitutes about 50 per cent, of the total crude rubber tonnage of the world. When crude rubber reaches the tire factory it is placed between enormous rollers and pressed out into thin sheets, all the time subjected to a constant stream of water to wash out all foreign substances. 1’hese sheets, after being hung up several weeks to dry. are ready to compound with sulphur and other ingredients in the manufacture of tires. In making solid tires the compounded rubber is placed in one end of a receptacle and forced out the other end in the desired shape. Next to rubber, the most important material in a pneumatic tire is the fabric which gives form and rigidity to the tire. So great is the strain upon a tire that for this purpose the higher priced tires use only the be l grade of Sea Island cotton, as it has the longest and stoutest filler. Many people who have never visited a rubber factory get the impression that rubber is heated and then poured into a mold. This is not true. Rubber is never under any circumstances poured, as it is too solid a may, and it is never heated very hot until it is made into the proper shape and form it will retain in use. In making pneumatic tires the tire is built up on a round form just the shape and size of the inside of the tire. It is composed of layer upon layer of special cotton fabric and rubber. These materials are very expensive. but here the quality of material and workmanship counts the utmost and the extra grade of materials and workmanship put into Firestone tires at this stage add greatly to the mileage the tire will give. It repays the extra cost a good many times over in extra miles of service. A great amount of time, thought and energy have been devoted by experts and inventors to combine rubber and cotton fabric into a good-wearing automobile tire and to develop the tire into its present stage of perfection. Since the first patent of this kind was issued, on May 8, 1847, nearly 2,000 patents have been granted on pneumatic tires, to say nothing of patents on solid and cushion tires. All tires look so much alike in outward appearance that an inexperienced buyer would scarcely detect the great difference that a superior quality makes in the wear. 1 his always shows up in mileage given. The United States takes just one-half of the world’s total output of crude rubber, and half of this goes to Akron. O. where about twothirds of all tires are made and about $125,000,000 is invested in rubber manufacture. Some rubber companies divide their attention over a multitude of products, but the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company concentrates all effort and energy upon perfection in tires exclusively, making no other goods. This company has become the largest exclusive tire maker in America.
The report of Superintendent G. W. Stiles, of the Malden, Mass., waterworks, shows the number of meters now in use to be 092.