Tag Archives: Haynes-Apperson

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.

1899 Haynes-Apperson Long Distance Run

Last week at the James Madison lecture sponsored by Indiana Automotive, I was reminded of the 1899 Haynes-Apperson long distance run of about 1,000 miles from Kokomo, IN, to Brooklyn, NY. Elwood Haynes and Edgar Apperson drove a recently completed Haynes-Apperson two-passenger phaeton from the factory for delivery to a Brooklyn physician.

1899 Haynes-Apperson phaeton
1899 Haynes-Apperson phaeton

The machine was built to order for Dr. Ashley Webber of Brooklyn for use it in his practice. Before accepting it, Dr. Webber stipulated that the carriage be of a serviceable character and could be relied upon to stand heavy, continuous use. To put it to a severe practical test, Haynes and Apperson undertook to drive it from Kokomo to Brooklyn and deliver it in perfect order.

That’s an outstanding test over roads of the day which were only paved in urban areas, with travel into the country usually being attempted in fair weather. Rain quickly turned country roads into thigh-deep mud ruts. In fact, the first day’s run on July 17, from Kokomo to Portland, IN, was made in less than seven hours at the rate of 11.8 miles an hour over roads heavy with mud. The wheels of the auto carried some fifty pounds of mud at the end of the day. Because of the muddy roads, they rested in Portland for one day.

They proceeded to Cleveland and then along the shores of Lake Erie to Buffalo. Next, their route lay along the line of the New York Central railroad and through the Mohawk Valley to Albany, and down the left bank of the Hudson to New York and Brooklyn.

After arriving, Elwood Haynes commented to New York newspapers: “We have every reason to feel fully satisfied with the machine. The test was made solely to prove the durability of the carriage. Had we desired to make high speed we could have come through in half the time.

All of our running was done in the day-light. I estimate the distance at 1,050 miles. We should have had the exact figures if our cyclometer had not gotten out of order. We did not discover that it had stopped until we ran about 150 miles.

The fastest run was between Buffalo and Syracuse, where our average was 18.4 miles an hour. Our highest speed was 20 miles an hour, but this could have been greatly exceeded. Friday we ran 105 miles between Schenectady and Fishkill, where we laid over for the night.”

The Haynes-Apperson automobile arrived in Brooklyn at 4 pm, Saturday, August 8, completing the longest run yet made in America. There were no break-downs on the entire run of over 1000 miles. The carriage was in good working order, and the trip was greatly enjoyed by the passengers. The number of days actually required for the run was 10, though the time occupied by the journey was 21 days.

At the time, the Haynes-Apperson phaeton set the American long-distance record and was the most talked-about “horseless” machine on the continent.

For more information on Indiana auto pioneers follow this link.

How are Thanksgiving and cars related?

I have a question for all you enthusiasts. How are Thanksgiving and cars related? No, I don’t mean hopping in the family car for the long expected drive to grandma’s house for that great turkey dinner.

I am referring to an event on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1895, six (motocycles) an early name for automobiles, started on the Chicago Times-Herald Race, America’s first automobile race to Evanston, Illinois. Beyond Chicago’s city limits only the builders and owners of cars seemed interested, but the race was perhaps the event that brought attention to the birthing of America’s auto industry.

Herman H. Kohlsaat, publisher of theChicago Times-Herald, announced plans for the Chicago race after reading about the Paris-Bordeaux race in June 1895. He designated $5,000 for prize money and $5,000 for necessary expenses. As part of the promotion for the race, the Times-Herald offered a prize of $500 for the best name suggested for the horseless vehicle. The name motocycle was awarded the prize in lieu of automobile.

Haynes Pioneer II replica
Haynes Pioneer II replica

The original race was scheduled for November 2, but of the 76 prospective entries listed only two cars appeared on that date. The publisher postponed the race to Thanksgiving Day. On that date, Chicago awakened to find the ground and rooftops covered with four inches of snow. This was an unfortunate event for Elwood Haynes and Elmer Apperson of Kokomo, Indiana. Their new Pioneer II automobile skidded in the snow and broke a wheel in an attempt to avoid a streetcar track rut while making its way to the starting line. With no spare available, their hopes to compete ended. However, the Haynes-Apperson entry did receive a $150 prize for its meritorious design feature — the reduction of vibration by balancing the engine.

Two electric and four gasoline motocycles awaited the starting gun in Jackson Park. The two electric vehicles were not serious contenders, because their owners had not been able to arrange for recharging stations along the route. Three of the gasoline vehicles were Benz cars imported from Germany. The fourth gasoline machine was the Duryea Motor Wagon built in Springfield, Massachusetts, and driven by J. Frank Duryea.

Lots were drawn to see who would be sent off first. Duryea won and was off at 8:55 a.m. The R.H. Macy & Company owned Benz passed Duryea for the lead in the early running. Duryea regained the lead by the halfway mark in Evanston and passed the second relay station at North Clark and Devon Avenue at a good rate. Less than 50 people saw the late stages of the race when Duryea finished at 7:19 p.m. The H. Mueller & Company owned Benz crossed the finish line second at 8:53 p.m.

The Duryea car won $2,000 for first place, with the Mueller-Benz receiving $1,500 for second place. They were the only cars to finish.

The Chicago Times-Herald Race revealed the possibilities of the automobile. On the day after the race thousands of people read the newspaper accounts and began to consider the prospect of being able to drive a car. Volume 1, Number 1, of The Horseless Age in November 1895, reported “Those who have taken the pains to search below the surface for the great tendencies of the age, know that a giant industry is struggling into being.”

It is interesting to think that America’s infatuation with automobiles probably started on Thanksgiving Day in 1895. That’s one reason why I’m thankful. Happy Turkey Day.

For more information on Indiana auto pioneers follow this link.