Advertisements for automobiles and horse-drawn wagons appeared side by side in the Concord Transcript in 1913.
Blacksmith Joseph Boyd had the agency for the Studebaker horse-drawn wagon and the Studebaker automobile. "Studebaker wagons are built of good stuff. They're made right by people who've had years and years of experience in making them right," Boyd's ad read.
Frederick Galindo, owner of the Concord Mercantile Co. general store, switched in 1913 from a horse-drawn delivery wagon to a motorized vehicle, promising to expand delivery of goods throughout the surrounding county.
In April 1913, the Concord city fathers decided the town needed a speed limit.
Henry Botts, a town trustee and another blacksmith, moved that speed limit signs be erected on all roads leading into town and that the marshal be instructed to arrest violators. Galindo, also a trustee, seconded the motion.
S.W. Holcomb, the Concord Transcript's editor, recommended a 10 mph limit, but trustees settled on 15 mph. The new law also decreed that drivers would have to signal when turning their vehicles from the curb into the street.
"The driver shall give a signal that can be plainly seen from the rear of such vehicle. ... The signal can be made by raising the hand or a whip."
Speeders would have to pay a $300 fine or go to County Jail, where each day would count as $2 toward the fine.
While customers could get everything from shovels to groceries and $2 corsets at Galindo's store in April 1913, they couldn't buy tires. Then traveling salesman E.L. Hiteman came to town and said his tires would add at least 12 percent to the horsepower of any automobile and save 25 percent in gasoline and oil consumption.
"Mr. Galindo does not believe this can be done and emphatically said so in as many words. However, Hiteman insists in showing Mr. Galindo, who insists on being shown; consequently, the gentlemen have arranged to make a comparison test of the regular fabric tires and the Silvertown Cord tires next Monday afternoon, May 5, to settle the discussion as well as to decide the wager," reported the Transcript.
The two made the test in J.A. Lavazolla's new E.M.F. Studebaker on the Willow Pass hill just outside town. First, the fabric tires were tested with four passengers in the automobile. The Silvertown cords then were tested with five people in the car.
"The start was made from the bottom of the hill on the high gear with the speedometer registering 35 miles per hour and without shifting gears of throttle, about 1,200 feet was climbed before the steep grade stalled the engine."
The spot on the hill was marked and the Silvertowns were applied to the rims. The rubber Silvertowns won easily, and Galindo added the tires to inventory.
Days Gone By appears on Sundays. Contact Nilda Rego at email@example.com.