Kokomo Rubber Company was founded by David C. Spraker in 1895. Upon opening, the company was well known for producing bicycle tires and auto tires. However advertisements in the early 1900’s show that the Kokomo Rubber Company was avidly manufacturing various types of motorcycle tires and shipping them nationwide. It’s a curious case that there has been no mention whatsoever about the company’s involvement with motorcycles by historians. Regardless of the fact, Indiana Motorcycle Historical Society is proud to showcase Kokomo Rubber Company’s involvement in motorcycling.
David C. Spraker was a serial entrepreneur born in Greensburg, Indiana and later moved to Kokomo, Indiana. His involvement with motorcycles first came through bicycles. According to the Kokomo Morning Times in a 1965 special, Spraker had owned a bicycle shop prior to the existence of Kokomo Rubber Company on the 1400 block of South Main Street where he had reportedly created the ‘first pneumatic rubber tire.’ Spraker’s early tires were originally made of strips of rubber, canvas, and vulcanized rubber wrapped around a slender pole and cemented together.
The company flourished through the 20’s with branch offices in Cincinnati, St. Louis, Louisville and Marysville, KY. At its height the company produced about 500 tires a day and more tubes and was 500 employees strong. The Great Depression starting in 1929 caught the company by surprise, and like many companies in the era, Kokomo Rubber Company eventually closed.
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