The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


George L. Davis and William Davis. For Ansil Davis, click here.

    E. Davis, father of merchant G. L. Davis and Wm. Davis, was stricken with a partial paralytic stroke on Thursday of last week, since which time he has been in a very dangerous condition. Drs. Jones and Shearer are in attendance.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, February 20, 1903, page 7

Death of Edmund Davis.
    Edmund Davis, one of the old and highly respected citizens of Medford, of which place he has been a resident for the past 15 years, died at the residence of his son, Wm. Davis, corner of B and 9th streets, on Tuesday, Feb. 24th, 1903.
    Mr. Davis was a native of North Carolina, having been born in that state on March 10, 1818. At the age of nineteen he was married to Miss Harriet Huffman, who, after a companionship of nearly sixty-six years, still survives him.
    Twelve children were born as a result of this union, nine of whom are still living. Soon after their marriage the young couple emigrated to the then almost unknown West and settled in Illinois, where Mr. Davis engaged in [the] stock and farming business, which occupation he followed through successive removals to Iowa, Kansas and California--ever trending westward--until finally, fifteen years ago, they settled in Jackson County, where the venerable couple have since lived, passing peacefully the evening of life, and awaiting the summons which must inevitably come to all.
    The funeral took place on Wednesday afternoon, services being held by Revs. Moore and Crandall, and the interment took place in Odd Fellows cemetery.
    Of the nine surviving children, two reside in Missouri, one in Iowa, three in Kansas, three--W. M. and G. L. Davis and Mrs. J. T. Eads--are residents of Medford, G. L. being the youngest of the family.
Medford Mail, February 27, 1903, page 6

    An Oakland California paper contains the following account of the establishment of the first automobile tire factory on the coast by George L. Davis, formerly of Medford:
    "Following up its advantageous position tn the motor world, Oakland is soon to have a big. real, live automobile tire factory, according to the plans of the Davis-Fry Manufacturing Company, a company recently incorporated for $5,000,000 for the purpose of manufacturing the Hercules automobile tires.
    "The company has already ordered the necessary machinery from the east with which to build tires at the rate of 80 a day, according to P. C. Steinmetz, an expert tire maker, who came here from the East recently and has been building test tires along the lines of the patent process under which the Hercules tires will be made. Steinmetz has made quite a few of the Hercules tires at the company's Emeryville plant and found them ideal in every respect. He says:
    "The officers of the company believe that the Hercules tire is not only a superior tire, but by costly demonstration has proved to their satisfaction that the Hercules tire is the very best tire yet invented; the special points of excellence being, first, durability; second, non-skid, both of which features are produced by the thread, or grain, of the tread of the tire running at nearly acute angles with the roadbed instead of parallel thereto.
    "The company guarantees the Hercules tire to run a distance of 5000 miles ordinary travel over ordinary roads, although it has been demonstrated that these tires in some instances have run more than 14,000 miles."
Medford Mail Tribune, April 24, 1914, page 6

    OAKLAND, Aug. 12.--So quietly did the Davis-Fry Manufacturing Company of Oakland start the ball a-rolling this week and get under way manufacturing the Hercules tires in Oakland that few were aware of the new order of things and the importance of the event that places Oakland on the map as a manufacturing city for automobile tires.
    The present plant of the Davis-Fry Manufacturing Company, which is located in Emeryville, started operations in earnest this week and tires were shelled out in quick order by the young company which already finds itself in the unique position of being unable to make them fast enough to meet the demand for the Hercules tire which, by the way, is vastly different in principle from the ordinary auto tire.
Made in All Types
    The Hercules tire is made in both straight side and Q.D. types. But the main idea is the non-skid principle worked out by the composition of the tread itself, giving the tire all of the desirable smoothness of plain treads and yet being of a substance that will cling tenaciously to slippery streets. For wearing qualities it is claimed by George L. Davis, head of the manufacturing company, to excel any other tire now on the market on account of the same tread composition and the patented principle of applying it that makes for the non-skid qualities.
    Before starting on the manufacture of the tires, Davis had many experimental tires built and placed in the most strenuous service in the motor stage lines of Oregon where Davis was acquainted with the rough road conditions. The results were so extremely satisfactory that a plant equipment of the most modern machinery was ordered and factory superintendent P. C. Steinmetz was ordered to go ahead at full speed.
    The machinery recently arrived and is now completely installed and already the plant is getting out tires to its capacity. The demand for the tires from Medford, Or., alone, where Davis resided for the past twenty-four years before coming to Oakland, and where the test tires attracted so much attention, keeps the young factory working to capacity. Also in the Sacramento Valley, where several test tires were put out, the orders are coming in faster than the factory can fill them. The results on the tires put out in Oakland have so far been extremely satisfactory, and it is claimed by Davis that more equipment will be needed to handle the demand within a few more weeks.
    Arrangements are already under way for a larger factory building in Oakland, and more machinery is on the way from the East, and it now looks as though Oakland was to figure prominently in the tire manufacturing industry.

Medford Mail Tribune, August 12, 1914, page 3

Last revised January 24, 2021