Shaler 5 Minute Vulcanizer - Boom. You're vulcaned.

There's a Simpsons episode called The Class Struggle in Springfield, which first aired in 1996. yes, The Simpsons used to be savagely clever and reliably hilarious. In one scene, there's a throwaway joke that does nothing to forward the main story, but is till a brilliant piece of character writing.

Marge is left by her wealthy friend at a gas station holding the pump's nozzle. Mr. Burns pulls up in his 1896 Ford Quadricycle, assuming that Marge works at the station and says "You there, fill it up with petroleum distillate, and re-vulcanize my tires, post haste!" Cut to next scene.

The current writers of the show could go a full season without being that funny, and in this classic episode, it's a disposable one-liner, like they had so many good jokes, they could just throw one like that in there just for kicks. Different times, friends.

Anyway, you'd think that vulcanizing rubber at the consumer level was some absurd thing that never happened. Well, that's what I assumed, anyway. Nope. Meet the Shaler 5 Minute Vulcanizer.

 In 1925, your tires came from the factory all vulcanized and ready to roll, thankfully. But, should you need to patch the inner tube (yes, car tires still had inner tubes, like your bicycle probably does) you would have to vulcanize the patch yourself. I am not making this up. Here is a FaceTube video of a gloriously restored Shaler Vulcanizer. The guy seems pretty proud of it.

Yep. It's a clamp. Pretty much. It's job was to squeeze the patch onto the tire. The patch was permanently sealed to the tire with a little puck of fuel, which the motorist lit with a match. Presumably, the fuel puck also contained a bit of sulfur, which seems to be key to the vulcanizing process.

Good news, someone! The Shaler Co. is still around! Here's their page on their old vulcanizer product. What are they up to now? Sealing hockey rinks. Stick with what you know, am I right, people? The Shaler company used to be located at 2104 Fourth St, Waupun, Wisconsin. let's go see what's there now!

Camp Long Lake, home of canoes, knot lessons, and (probably) endless noogies. Here's a video of Camp Long Lake's 2014 Chili Supper, if you're curious. PS: Don't be curious. I'll let you down easy by telling you right now that there's no discussion at all about the vulcanization process at the 2014 Camp Long Lake Chili Supper. Bummer. I wonder how this would make Vulcan, the Roman god of fire, feel. Poor guy. Know what? The beardy guy in the video would make an excellent god of fire. Sadly, the P.A.G. Research and Googling team were unable to unearth this gentleman's name. Just call him Vulcan. Let him wonder.


Post a Comment