The Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles announced today the opening of its newest exhibit, On Merit Alone: The Story of Acme. The exhibit will outline the history of the Acme Manufacturing Company, founded in 1892 by James Reber, which first manufactured bicycles. The company would later become the Acme Motor Car Company after building its first automobile in 1900. Finally, the company was renamed the S.G.V. Company in 1911, and a more European-style influence could be seen in their cars to accompany this new moniker. Throughout these years and changes, production remained at the factory at North Eighth and Elm Streets in Reading, Pennsylvania. Typical of many of the automobile manufacturers of the time, Acme grew out of an earlier industry—in this case, the bicycle.
To illustrate the history of this company, two late 19th-century bicycles will be on display, as well as a 1910 Acme race car and a 1912 S.G.V automobile. Sales literature and brochures from these companies will also be displayed and incorporated into the exhibit signage.
More than just a company history, On Merit Alone: The Story of Acme will also focus on Acme’s role in early automotive racing. The Acme Motor Car Company entered stock cars in many races, sometimes employing amateur drivers in order to prove the ease of operation of its cars. The exhibit will also speak to a topic never before broached at the Boyertown Museum: women’s rights. One of the bicycles on display, a 1898 Acme women’s model bicycle, is a new addition to the Boyertown Museum collection. On Merit Alone takes advantage of this new artifact to teach visitors about the role of the bicycle in the women’s movement. The introduction of the safety bicycle in the 1880s did much to liberate women from strict Victorian ideals. The exquisite example on display serves as a focal point to educate visitors about the Victorian era and ways women found to subvert conventions of the time.
The Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 am -4 pm and is closed on Mondays.
The Museum, located at 85 South Walnut Street in Boyertown, PA preserves the transportation history of Pennsylvania and displays over eighty locally manufactured cars, trucks, carriages, motorcycles, sleighs, and other types of vehicles. Admission rates are $6.00 for adults, $5.00 for seniors and AAA, $4.00 for students, and children under 5 years are free. For more information call 610-367-2090 or visit www.boyertownmuseum.org.