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In 1938, wider rims were used for better tire performance. With wider rims the tire beads were not pulled in as far, which allowed the tread to flatten and with a deeper tread the tires became more efficient. With the wider rim the same size tire has a wider tread width. The second sizes (II) still used the approximate tread width.

I think the old rule of thumb was one tire size up or down on a rim is ok. Not ideal but ok. Firestone is correct the the corresponding rim width for a 12.4 tire (it's 12.4 not 12. is 11". You could get by with a 10" or 12" rim but I'd say a 9" rim is a bit of a stretch - so to speak.

Tyre Width Vs Rim Width >> tires - "Standard" tyre width vs. rim width chart - Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair Stack ...

Tyre Width Vs Rim Width >> tires - "Standard" tyre width vs. rim width chart - Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair Stack ...

Tyre Width Vs Rim Width >> Tech Talk: Are your bike tires too wide for your rims? Here's how to get it right - Bikerumor

Tyre Width Vs Rim Width >> Tech Talk: Are your bike tires too wide for your rims? Here's how to get it right - Bikerumor