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Daily history for 5/15/12 - Tiny's tires


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#1 Lone Wolf

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:30 AM

At the request of Cheater I will start each day of this in a new thread. I will try this for a week or two to see how it works out.

Today we have some Tiny's tires. These should bring back some memories for you original hardcore racers. I have never seen these before in the original package. Dig some of the names. The back reads "Tiny's Hobby Engineering CO. 1418 West South Central Park, Anaheim, Calif. 92802".

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Joe Lupo





#2 Hworth08

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 08:17 AM

I don't recall ever using any but from the magazine articles Tiny's were the first good tires. One thing for sure, they had some good names! :)

I believe these tires were adapted from foam material used at Tiny's work place.
Don Hollingsworth

#3 Lone Wolf

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 05:53 PM

Looks like this idea is off to a crappy start, I'll give it a couple more days to gauge interest. Don, I remember reading that this rubber was actually plane fuselage insulation. Don't know if it's true.

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#4 S.O. Watt

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 06:26 PM

And Tiny's slot car track, IIRC, was on Los Angeles Street (Now Anaheim Blvd) and Lincoln. I do remember the aircraft insulation rumor but can neither confirm nor deny it.

And around the corner and down the street on Lincoln was Daytona Raceway, home to Bryan W. and J. Tore Anderson back in the day. Daytona also had a fantastic tyre that I think pre-dated Tiny's. They were black and worked really well when treated to a bit of "juice" (oil of wintergreen). I was told a possible tall tale about the origin of the Daytona's - '57 Caddy hood grommets! Believe it or not!

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#5 Dave Fiedler

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 06:27 PM

Give it a little time. Luv this kinda stuff.

Thanks, Joe.
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#6 Ron Hershman

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:12 PM

Looks like Rubatex colored SBR rubber to me.

#7 Hworth08

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:16 PM

Tom,

I'm thinking the other tire besides Tiny's might have been called Cleve's or maybe Van Cleve's. Both tires are mentioned in the 1966 race reports. I'll look and see what I can find.
Don Hollingsworth

#8 JohnnySlotcar

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:17 PM

Which was used for aircraft insulation!! Hope there wasn't any fire on board.
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#9 TSR

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:22 PM

Excerpt from the new book (yes, be patient, I am working on it!)

Tires were black or gray sponge produced by local manufacturers, Jack Tate was first to provide a better tire, but these were quickly made obsolete by the new "Tiny's". Tiny’s real name was Augustus Cornelius Spratt, and he owned a raceway in Anaheim appropriately named Tiny's Hobbies. From there he marketed neoprene foam donuts in various colors, the gray and blue being the racers favorites. Augie Spratt was a huge person, 6'3" and over 300 lbs of personal heft, hence his ironic nickname.


:)

Philippe de Lespinay
 
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#10 Pete L.

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:37 PM

Fellas,

Cool subject... what year did the Tiny's hit the market?
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#11 TSR

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:37 PM

1966. as Ron pointed out, likely stock stuff from Rubatex and no super-secret nuclear submarine door sealing material... :)

Philippe de Lespinay
 
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#12 slotbaker

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:38 PM

Joe, please keep it going. While I can't comment on a lot of it, I'm learning all sorts of cool stuff.
:)

Steve King


#13 TSR

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:47 PM

I'm thinking the other tire besides Tiny's might have been called Cleve's or maybe Van Cleve's.


Van Cleave. Still plenty of them around, new in their baggies with their beige tags... :)
Mostly gray 1/2" X 1-1/8" sponge donuts.

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#14 S.O. Watt

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 08:18 PM

I remember "Tiny" and the name was... uhh... earned,

And around the corner from his track was a - Buster Brown Shoes store. :)

Pretty easy name to grab... :laugh2:

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#15 Rick

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 08:54 PM

Were the Tiny's considered very pricey in the day? 89 cents would convert to about $8/pair today...
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#16 TSR

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 08:57 PM

Nothing was cheap when demand overwhelmed supply... :)

Slot cars were a favorite pastime for approximately 3.5 million young and not so young Americans in 1966... astounding number to hear today.

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#17 Mark H

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 09:37 PM

Cool! I always love looking at old packaging to see where the stuff was made. Most the time its right around the corner from where I live; seems lots of slot stuff was made in SoCal.

So are the compounds different per color or does the color itself make the tire better and less better? You never really see yellow or brown on many old cars.
Mark Haas

#18 John Miller

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 10:13 PM

:good: Good stuff. :good:

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#19 TSR

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 10:18 PM

so are the compounds different per color or does the color itself make the tire better and less better? you never really see yellow or brown on many old cars.


It all depended on which way the wind blew, which track you ran them on, etc. The color dye in them gave them some different characteristic, but mostly it was a question of batches. One month, a batch would be good in "gray", the next month the "orange" were better, next month it was the turn for the "blues". Black were rarely a good choice for some reason, maybe too much dye in the neoprene made them too hard...

Today, the gray survive much better than any other color for some reason.

Philippe de Lespinay
 
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#20 Ron Hershman

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 12:08 AM

Were the Tiny's considered very pricey in the day? 89 cents would convert to about $8/pair today...


Considering they cost Tiny about 6 cents a pair back in the day... I would say Tiny made more than the customary five times cost is the retail price. ;)

#21 ravajack

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 06:07 PM

Tiny's real name was Augustus Cornelius Spratt, and he owned a raceway in Anaheim appropriately named Tiny's Hobbies.

Augie Spratt was a huge person, 6'3" and over 300 lbs of personal heft, hence his ironic nickname.


And for the linguistic history records, another "tiny" connection:

Spratt

English: nickname for a small or insignificant person, from Middle English "sprat" (of uncertain origin).
Bertil Berggren
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#22 TSR

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 07:34 PM

Bertil,
an appropriate name for a substantial individual would you not think? :laugh2:

Philippe de Lespinay
 
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#23 Champion 507

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 04:46 AM

I remember the Tiny's name but never had any. Our local track sold various colors of foam tires glued to aluminum threaded hubs from Champion of California - not Chamblee. Those were popular at the time. I remember having a green pair, a light blue pair and some grays.
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#24 tonyp

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 02:13 PM

Weren't the Champ of Cali tires sold as Tiny's?

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#25 Champion 507

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 04:06 PM

Tony,

I don't know. Your experience in this hobby is a ton deeper than mine. It would be interesting to find out. I have a light green pair and a light blue pair that are almost NOS. I got them from a (now deceased) friend of mine about 1999. I have them stored in (hopefully) air tight plastic 35mm film containers.

Back in the day, we would soak them in genuine oil of wintergreen to soften them up. Our local track was in a shopping mall and there was a drug store next door. That was convenient! I tried to find some a few years ago and the best I could come up with was synthetic.

Someone here on Slotblog recommended getting the Walmart equivalent of Ben-gay, so I did that and it seemed ok. I did put a bottle of it in my slot box to bring back the smell from the day. Young people today think because I'm an old man, that I keep Ben-gay in my slot box. They don't realize every kid's box back then smelled of wintergreen. :laugh2:
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#26 TSR

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 04:14 PM

Tiny's were also available from distributors but I do not believe that they made it to the East Coast that much. Baldwin Specialties was one of the distributors that carried them.

Philippe de Lespinay
 
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#27 Mark H

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:53 PM

Tony,

I don't know. Your experience in this hobby is a ton deeper than mine. It would be interesting to find out. I have a light green pair and a light blue pair that are almost NOS. I got them from a (now deceased) friend of mine about 1999. I have them stored in (hopefully) air tight plastic 35mm film containers.

Back in the day, we would soak them in genuine oil of wintergreen to soften them up. Our local track was in a shopping mall and there was a drug store next door. That was convenient! I tried to find some a few years ago and the best I could come up with was synthetic.

Someone here on Slotblog recommended getting the Walmart equivalent of Ben-gay, so I did that and it seemed ok. I did put a bottle of it in my slot box to bring back the smell from the day. Young people today think because I'm an old man, that I keep Ben-gay in my slot box. They don't realize every kid's box back then smelled of wintergreen. :laugh2:

oh yeah! thats my favorite smell! not old people but wintergreen slot boxes lol.
Mark Haas

#28 Champion 507

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 01:22 AM

Mark said "oh yeah! thats my favorite smell! not old people but wintergreen slot boxes lol.

Glad you clarified that, Mark. :laugh2:
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#29 sidejobjon

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 12:08 PM

TSR,

When did they change to Silicone coated sponge & who was first ? Or is that Just HO tire of choice?
Thanks SJJ
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#30 TSR

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 02:03 PM

John,
The first slot car tires were made of molded natural black rubber pretty much everywhere, the first of course made in England where the hobby was born as a going concern. By 1963, some racers in the USA had discovered molded sponge rubber, namely model-airplane tires made by Graupner in Germany, and called "Rekord Elastik". These were ground to slot car sizes and because of their circular section, early aftermarket rims often had a half-circle inner rim to accommodate them. By 1964, several SoCal racers had discovered Rubatex, a company distributing neoprene sponge sheets located in Santa Fe Springs. These rubber sheets were available in various colors and thicknesses and were used in industrial or consumer oriented application. Rubatex seized the opportunity and had tooling made to die cut donuts from the 1-1/4" thick rubber sheets. Tiny's became one of their customers but the largest was Classic that in 1966, really started the ball rolling in a huge scale. Riggen got in the game and also became one of the big players until the hobby collapsed in 1968. Then it became the territory of smaller surviving companies such as Associated, Riggen, Cobra, Champion...

Meanwhile by 1966 in the Midwest and in Michigan and other places, silicone tires on dry, slick tracks had become the thing to use.
In 1966, MPC of Mount Clemens, MI, was first to introduce silicone coated sponge tires at the commercial level, but this had been inspired by their use by racers on local tracks. The smart guys had figured that rolling trued, soft sponge tires over black or white silicone weatherproofing material laid on a flat surface, then letting them dry, gave them a tremendous performance advantage over the hard molded silicone tires mostly manufactured by Twinn-K.

I am not aware of use of silicone tires on HO cars until at least 1968, but it is possible that it happened before. I seem to remember that both Champion and Twinn-K began offering silicone tires for HO cars sometimes in 1969, I have to verify this.

Philippe de Lespinay
 
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#31 Rick Davis

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 03:32 PM

Phillipe
Have no data to back my suspicions (since my focus at that time was 1/32nd) but MPC may have co-opted the coated sponge tire concept from Bob Smolinski of White Circle Tires , who I got to know during the early days of R/C racing , Bob's process was to rack the ground tires on long spindles that were ganged and geared together and dip the tires by bringing a tray up from below with a diluted silicone solution - not sure of the formula but the smell was certainly powerful.
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#32 Bob Appelle

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 04:06 PM

I worked for Bob at White Circle for a short time when he rented space at Shore's Raceway in Saint Clair Shores Michigan. The tires were mounted on 1/24 axels that were rotated by 64 pitch Welden spur gears that were mounted between two pieces of 1/8 by one inch aluminum flat stock. Each rack had about twenty four pair capacity. They would rotate at about 15 rpm. He used Dow Corning White bathtub caulk. I think that he used Xylene to thin it. The pan was about one inch deep, and you would hold it under one side for about two rpm's and then do the other side. I think it would take about three or four coats. I also worked for Shores Raceway. To sell the tires, we would hold the tire against the vertical glass on a showcase an let go of it and it would roll down the glass until it reached the floor.
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#33 Lone Wolf

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 12:15 PM

Bob, thanks for that inside info. This is the kind of thing I was hoping for when I started this history thing. I think it is important to hear from the people that were actually " there ". P, was the Baldwin you mentioned here on L.I.? Did it have anything to do with Bert Lemil or Lemil distributing? He was located in Baldwin as well.

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#34 Bob Appelle

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 04:40 PM

I forgot to mention in my first post that I think White Circle was the originator of coated tires. One of the racers at Shores Raceway ( Dave Lowe ) was a I think a production manager at MPC. I don't know it they worked with White Circle or just made their own, but Bob was first as I remember. White Circle also used a clear coating to please the racers that didn't like white rear tires, but they did not come close to the traction of the white one's. Bob
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#35 Ron Hershman

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 05:42 PM

Some of you may know this and some may not......Bob Smolinski was granted a U.S. Patent for silicone coating tires. I have a paper copy of this Patent.

You may also find it online. :)

#36 TSR

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 05:47 PM

I think that it is "Smolensky".

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#37 Ron Hershman

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 06:33 PM

No Sorry.....sitting here looking at a "hand written" and signed price quote from Bob Smolinski in his own hand writing ;)

#38 Ron Hershman

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 06:34 PM

I also believe that Bob Haines REH Dist purchased all of the White Circle coating equipment and fixtures a few years back.

#39 TSR

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 07:55 AM

No Sorry.....sitting here looking at a "hand written" and signed price quote from Bob Smolinski in his own hand writing ;)


That's settles it. "Smolensky" is how I read it in an old mag race report.

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#40 Gator Bob

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 06:27 PM

Weren't the Champ of Cali tires sold as Tiny's?


Yes.

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#41 TSR

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 06:49 PM

No, different company, different people, different wheels. But the rubber came from the same place, Rubatex.

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#42 Mr. M

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 09:50 PM

If I remember right from my days in the Midwest during the 60's and 70's, some local guys made tires for the local raceways with Dow Corning and benzene. Glad I never tried it myself! The White Circle tires dominated many of the Midwest tracks that did not allow glue. We used to put down 6 inch water trails on the main straight with a drop of soap to clean them off every lap. It worked real well.
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#43 tomm

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 10:49 PM

Patent details, just for archive purposes:

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http://www.google.co...tents/US3408770

RACING TIRE

Robert Smolinski et al

Patent number: 3408770
Filing date: Apr 6, 1966
Issue date: Nov 5, 1968

Tom McClintock

#44 Arne Saknussem

Arne Saknussem

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 08:15 AM

Tiny's made their way to Western New York pretty quickly. My memory may be a little foggy but I recall the red variety becoming the must have on local tracks. Then threaded axles went away and the blue and grey taper lock hubs came into use. I also seem to remember running on a track prepped with castor oil.

Pete Varlan

"A friend to many, a nightmare to many more."






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