Reading, Pennsylvania Company Takes Center Stage at Museum

BOYERTOWN, UNITED STATES - May 2, 2013: On April 25, 2013, the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles opened its newest exhibit, On Merit Alone: The Story of Acme. Using two late 19th century bicycles and two brass era automobiles, the exhibit traces the history of the Acme Manufacturing Company, builder of bicycles, to the Acme Motor Car Company and later the S.G.V. Company, both of which built fine automobiles. The company’s factories were located at North Eighth and Elm Streets in Reading, Pennsylvania. Typical of the era, Acme tried to modernize after building bicycles to the motorized era, and succeeded for a few years before selling to the S.G.V. Company, which dissolved a few years later.

More than just a company history, On Merit Alone: The Story of Acme also focuses on Acme’s role in early automobile racing. A form of advertisement, races were used by early car companies, including Acme, as a way to market and prove the reliability and endurance of their product. Another focus of the exhibit is the effect bicycles and bicycling had on the women’s rights movement. A women’s model Acme bicycle model will be on display, and will be used to demonstrate how women were able use the bicycle as a means to buck strict Victorian traditions and ideals.