Tag Archives: Elwood Haynes

From my bookshelf Holidays 2016 Edition

If you’re like me, you’re cogitating on unique auto related books for gifts. Here are some picks from my bookshelf for the 2016 Holidays.


How about a book written in August 1916 about a road trip from New York City to Indiana? In A Hoosier Holiday Theodore Dreiser colorfully documents his journey in a new Indianapolis-built sixty-horsepower Pathfinder to his old Indiana haunts in Warsaw, Terre Haute, Sullivan, Evansville, and Bloomington.

One of the stories is of meeting Indiana auto pioneer Elwood Haynes at the Haynes Automobile Company plant in Kokomo. He begins by describing the workers and sights during his plant tour. “After inspecting the factory we came into presence of the man who built up all this enterprise. He was relatively undersized, quite stocky, with a round, dumpling-like body, and a big, round head which looked as though it might contain a very solid mass of useful brains. He had the air of one who has met thousands, a diplomatic, cordial, experienced man of wealth. I sensed his body and his mind to be in no very healthy condition, however, and he looked quite sickly and preoccupied. He had a habit, I observed, contracted no doubt through years of meditation and introspection, of folding both arms over his stout chest, and then lifting one or the other forearm and supporting his head with it, as though it might fall over too far if he did not. He had grey-blue eyes, the eyes of a thinker and organizer, and like all strong men, a certain poise and ease very reassuring, I should think, to anyone compelled or desiring to converse with him.” Haynes told Dreiser of building his first automobile in 1894 and his recent development of Stellite, a new metallurgical alloy patented in 1912 and still in use today.

Dreiser’s travelogue describes their 2,000 mile, two-week pilgrimage to his boyhood home. He paints you into the story of the people, the journey, and the destinations.

Peruse A Hoosier Holiday at Amazon.com.


I am interested in stories about hunting for automobiles. The next two selections fit that genre. The Cobra in the Barn: Great Stories of Automotive Archaeology is the first book in the series of tales of the elusive search for the ultimate “barn find” automobile that started in 2005.

This book in the series explores a gathering of over 50 cars, including seven different Cobras. Passionate sleuth Lynn Park of Pasadena, CA, has owned nine Cobras, and he’s still on the lookout for more. Park’s obsession started one day when an acquaintance showed him a copy of Road & Track magazine with a Cobra on the cover. The next day he visited Carroll Shelby’s shops in Venice, CA, to see one for himself. He was immediately hooked. Being just out of high school, the $5,000 price tag was beyond his budget. So, he purchased an A.C. Aceca coupe and converted it to 289 Cobra specifications himself. His main emphasis is non-restored original automobiles. One of these is the 289 Cobra found under a canvas cover in Temple City, CA, with 33,000 miles on the odometer. Park has respectfully conserved the car, which he drives more than any of his other Cobras.

Author Tom Cotter shares how some of these dream searches might start out as part of an urban legend, but through what he calls automotive archaeology, the details of the actual “barn find” come to reality.

Peruse The Cobra in the Barn at Amazon.com.


It has been said “You never forget your first car.” I know that the saying is true for me. I still remember my Canyon Coral with India Ivory top 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop. That’s why I wanted to read My First Car: Recollections of First Cars from Jay Leno, Tony Stewart, Carroll Shelby, Dan Ackroyd, Tom Wolfe and Many More.
Motor Trend executive editor and motoring author Matt Stone compiled 60 stories of these “firsts” from titans of the auto industry and other celebrities. The interviewees share what drew them to, how they enjoyed, and other remembrances of their first car.

The first thing I wanted to checkout was how many claimed 1957 Chevrolets Bel Air “firsts” like me. I’m in good company with motorsports legend Mario Andretti and well-known auto care product manufacturer Barry Meguiar.
I enjoyed how Stone presents each of these stories. First he offers a short background on the individual. Then he weaves the tale of acquisition, use, misuse, and separation from the revered vehicle. There are many stories of how these vehicles helped to build a life-time bond with someone close.

Stone’s motor journalist experience yields a thorough look at the topic. His love of automobiles adds interest and draws you into the story.

Peruse My First Car at Amazon.com.

So, if you’re looking for some different books this holiday season, I invite you peruse these. See you the next time over by my bookshelf.

For more information on our bookstore follow this link.

Haynes America’s First Car

In 1912, the Haynes Automobile Company began using the trademark and slogan “Haynes: America’s First Car” to remind the public of the historical significance of their product. This slogan upset some of the other early auto pioneers who questioned the legitimacy of the claim. Let’s look at some of the thinking behind this claim.

1894 Haynes Pioneer
Elwood Haynes in the 1894 Pioneer
Copyright Elwood Haynes Museum

The Haynes advertising department stretched the point by using 1893 as the date for the beginning of the Haynes “Pioneer.” This was when Elwood Haynes purchased the Sintz gasoline engine at the Chicago World’s Fair and began experimenting and planning his automobile. He demonstrated the car on July 4, 1894, along Pumpkinvine Pike on the outskirts of Kokomo.

The claim was based on the grounds that the 1893 Duryea was only a motorized buggy and the Haynes Pioneer was built from the ground up as a self-propelled vehicle.

It is also reported that Elwood Haynes formulated an agreement with John W. Lambert who demonstrated America’s first successful automobile in January 1891, in Ohio City, Ohio, just across Indiana’s eastern border. Lambert was unable to generate sufficient sales for this early vehicle and didn’t challenge the claim.

1914 Haynes Model 28 Touring Car
1914 Haynes Model 28 Touring Car

The Haynes Automobile Company advertised in a number of national magazines and newspapers. The company sponsored a double-page advertisement in the Indianapolis Star on July 1, 1913, when the two Haynes autos departed on the Indiana Automobile Manufacturers’ Association – Indiana to Pacific tour. The Haynes’ were part of the 18 automobiles and two trucks who participated in the tour from Indianapolis to Los Angeles to demonstrate that Indiana-built autos had the stamina to make a cross country trip.

That’s the story behind the trademark and slogan “Haynes: America’s First Car.”

For more information on Indiana cars & companies, follow this link.

Twenty years of Haynes innovation explored 1893-1913

When Elwood Haynes left Indianapolis with the Indiana Automobile Manufacturers’ Association Indiana-Pacific Tour on July 1, 1913, he was celebrating 20 years of automotive innovation. It is interesting to reflect on those first 20 years from our vantage point some 100 years later.

First, let’s look at Haynes’ “Pioneer” automobile that he demonstrated on the outskirts of Kokomo on July 4, 1894. Haynes conceived his idea of a “self-propelled vehicle” in 1890 while driving a horse and buggy and inspecting a natural gas field near Greentown, Indiana. After first considering steam and later electricity as motive forces, Haynes found a one-horsepower Sintz gasoline engine at the Chicago World’s Fair in the summer of 1893.

1894 Haynes Pioneer
Elwood Haynes in the 1894 Pioneer
Copyright Elwood Haynes Museum

In the fall of 1893, Haynes tested his Sintz engine mounted on sawhorses in the family’s kitchen. The engine ran with such speed and vibration that it pulled itself from its attachments to the floor. This prompted Haynes to design and build a much heavier chassis frame than he had originally planned. He also devised the test procedure to determine the amount of power and gear ratios necessary to move the machine at a speed of seven to eight miles per hour up a 4 percent incline.

On the afternoon of July 4, as the men rolled the strange-looking contraption out of the shop, men, women, and children rushed out and encircled the machine. Out of concern for the spectators, they arranged to tow the machine three miles from the center of town, to a spot along Pumpkinvine Pike. They started the engine, climbed aboard, and moved off at a speed of about seven miles per hour. Haynes drove a mile and half further into the country and then chugged all the way back into town without making a single stop.

Haynes’ innovation quickly took off. His second automobile built in 1895 introduced the first use of aluminum in automotive engine design. In 1907, he received patents for nickel and chromium alloys used in auto ignition systems. The Haynes Automobile Company was the first to equip an open car with a top, a windshield, headlamps, and a speedometer as standard equipment in 1911.

Haynes No. 13
Haynes No. 13
1913 IAMA Tour participant

A six-cylinder engine joined the Haynes line for 1913, and later that year the Vulcan Electric Gearshift was introduced for a short run on all models. Other standard features on these models included: hand buffed leather seating, an electric starting and lighting system with two large headlights, two cowl lights, a tail light, sight oil feed gauge, an auxiliary air pressure pump with gauge, rim wind clock, rain-vision ventilating windshield, coat and foot rails, electric horn, tire irons, full tool equipment, and one demountable rim. How’s that for a list of standard features?

In 1914, Haynes commented, “The best speed attained with the “Pioneer” was about eight or nine miles per hour. Whereas, nineteen years later, the Haynes “Six” Model 23, on which I was a passenger during the 1913 tour of the Indiana Automobile Manufacturers’ Association to the Pacific Coast, coasted into Columbia, MO, over a good stretch of highway, at 35 miles per hour.”

The Haynes Automobile Company of Kokomo, IN, was a good benchmark for automotive innovation during its first 20 years in business from 1893 to 1913. Thank you Elwood Haynes for your innovation in automobiles and alloys.

For more information on our automotive heritage follow this link.

Celebrating 122 years of Indiana automotive innovation

On July 4, 2016, Indiana celebrated 122 years of Indiana automotive innovation. That’s right, fellow Hoosiers, Elwood Haynes demonstrated one of America’s first automobiles on July 4, 1894.

1894 Haynes Pioneer
1894 Haynes Pioneer

In 1890, while working as a gas field superintendent in Greentown, Indiana, Haynes hypothesized “Wouldn’t it be a fine thing if I didn’t have to depend on the horse for locomotion?” With his training from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, he began thinking about how to build a self-propelled vehicle. He first considered a steam engine and then an electrical motor for propulsion, but these were rejected because of their weight.

While attending the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, he ordered a one-horsepower gasoline engine from the Sintz Gas Engine Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When the engine arrived at his home in Kokomo, Indiana, in fall 1893, he immediately set it up for a test in the kitchen. After considerable cranking, the engine started and ran with such vibration that it pulled itself from its attachments to the floor.

This early experiment prompted Haynes to design a sturdy chassis for his automobile. He conducted further experiments to design the gearing and other requirements. When completed, the total weight of his machine was about 820 pounds.

On July 4, 1894, when the machine was removed from the shop for the trial run, men, women, and children surrounded the vehicle. For the safety of the spectators, Haynes towed it about three miles into the country along a level stretch of Pumpkinvine Pike. Haynes and two other men clambered aboard and moved off at a speed of about seven miles per hour, and were driven about one and one-half miles further into the country. They then turned around and drove all the way into town without making a single stop.

Haynes later recounted an observation about the trial run. “At that time the bicycle was very popular as a pastime, especially among the young ladies. I remember as the little machine made its way along the streets we were met by a ‘bevy’ of girls mounted on wheels. I shall never forget the expression on their faces as they wheeled aside, separating like a flock of swans and gazing wonder-eyed at the uncouth and utterly unexpected little machine.”

Between 1894 and 1897, Haynes and Elmer and Edgar Apperson built six automobiles. In 1898, they incorporated the Haynes-Apperson Company. They produced nearly 200 automobiles in 1900, the year in which total United States production amounted to about 4,200. During the next seven years, Haynes-Apperson maintained an annual production of approximately 250 automobiles.

1923 Haynes Sports Sedan
1923 Haynes Sports Sedan

In 1914, Haynes noted, “Frankly, I did not realize on that Fourth of July, when I took the first ride in America’s First Car (Haynes’ claim), that a score of years later every street and highway in America would echo the sound of the horn and the report of the exhaust.”

So, now you know the story about celebrating 122 years of Indiana automotive innovation. Thanks to Elwood Haynes for his pioneering work developing his “little machine” in 1894.

For more information on our automotive heritage follow this link.

Mileposts in Indiana automotive history-Part One

Hardly a week goes by without someone remarking to me about a milepost in Indiana automotive history. Indianapolis once had more automobile manufacturers than Detroit. Movie stars and kings once clamored for specific models made only in Indiana. The state was also home to several innovations such as tilt steering, cruise control, and front-wheel drive.

In this series of posts, I’ll share some of my list of Indiana’s mileposts in automotive history. I wish to share this automotive heritage to energize and excite auto enthusiasts to get involved with collectible cars.

Early 19th century Construction of the Indiana section of the National Road from Richmond to West Terre Haute took place between 1827 and 1839. It was the road that led wagons and coaches westward.

1885 The world’s first gas pump is invented by Sylvanus F. Bowser of Fort Wayne.

1911 Auburn
1911 Auburn
with Bowser pump

1891 Charles H. Black of Indianapolis garners the dubious distinction of having Indiana’s first auto accident when he ran a German-manufactured Benz automobile into downtown store windows.

1894 Elwood Haynes demonstrates one of the earliest American automobiles along Pumpkinvine Pike on the outskirts of Kokomo.

1894 Haynes Pioneer
Elwood Haynes
with 1894 Haynes Pioneer

1895 Elwood Haynes introduces the first use of aluminum alloy in an automobile in the Haynes-Apperson crankcase.

1896 The corrugated metal pipe culvert is invented by two Crawfordsville men Stanley Simpson, the town engineer, and James H. Watson, a sheet metal worker. Their patented pipe culvert has now become a common sight on highway construction projects around the world.

1900 Tom and Harry Warner, Abbott and J.C. Johnson, Col. William Hitchcock, and Thomas Morgan found Warner Gear Company of Muncie. Warner Gear’s first major contribution to the industry was the differential.

1902 The Marmon motorcar, designed by Indianapolis automaker Howard C. Marmon, has an air-cooled overhead valve V-twin engine and a revolutionary lubrication system that uses a drilled crankshaft to keep its engine bearings lubricated with oil-fed under pressure by a gear pump. This is the earliest automotive application of a system that has long since become universal to internal combustion piston engine design.

1902 The first Studebaker motorcar, introduced in South Bend, is an electric car. Studebaker Bros. had produced more than 750,000 wagons, buggies, and carriages since 1852.

1902 Studebaker Stanhope
1902 Studebaker Stanhope

1903 The Overland has its engine in the front, and rear-seat entrances are through the sides rather than the rear.

1903 The Auburn motorcar, introduced by Auburn Automobile Co. of Auburn, is a single-cylinder runabout with solid tires and a steering tiller. Charles, Frank and Morris Eckhart of Eckhart Carriage Co. started the firm with $7,500 in capital.

1903 The Haynes-Apperson is designed with a tilting steering column to allow low easy access for the driver or passenger upon entering or leaving the vehicle.

1903 Premier claims that the oak leaf on its radiator badge is the first use of an emblem as an automobile trademark.

Marmon 1904 Model A
Marmon 1904 Model A

1905 The Haynes Model L has a semi-automatic transmission.

For more information on Indiana automotive heritage check out our book Indiana Cars: A History of the Automobile in Indiana