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Hard Brake linings.

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If you could know what the material was made of that may make recovery easier.  You could experiment with small sections sawn off with hand hacksaw.   There may be a solvent that can be absorbed that will correct the loss of elasticity.  You should probably try to find what the possible composition may be, which might give you the clues to what might relax the rigidity of the cross-linking.  You have to guess and experiment . In could soften with something as simple as gentle heat.  If the material of the drums is steel, and they are worn,  it may be better to rebuild the contact face with a sprayed metal coating such as Metco spraysteel LS,  which finish machined has similar braking efficiency to sg  cast iron, and you can use modern linings.    I have written all this, in "chapter and verse", more than once elsewhere on this forum.  Remember that you get the best brakes from the optimum of drum and lining materials.  Early in the production of the V16 Cadillac, they had to abandon steel drums and change to cast iron to improve the braking efficiency.

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