Tag Archives: Haynes Automobile Company

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.”

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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.

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Mileposts in Indiana automotive history-Part Two

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

1906 American Motors Company of Indianapolis develops the American Underslung car, one of the first examples of low-center-of-gravity engineering.

1906 Maxwell-Briscoe, (predecessor of Chrysler Corporation), builds its plant in New Castle. It is the largest automobile plant in the nation.

1906 National Motor Vehicle Company introduces a six-cylinder model, one of the first in America.

1907-American-Underslung
1907-American-Underslung

1907 Willys-Overland Motors is established by auto dealer John North Willys, who takes over control of Overland Automobile of Indianapolis and moves it in 1909 to the old Pope-Toledo plant in Toledo, Ohio.

1909 Carl G. Fisher, James A. Allison, Arthur C. Newby and Frank H. Wheeler pool $250,000 in capital to form the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Company and transform an Indianapolis west side farm into a two-and-a-half-mile oval that becomes synonymous with automobile racing. The Speedway is designed as an automotive testing ground for U.S. manufactured automobiles to establish American auto supremacy. After the August motorcycle and auto races, the macadam track is repaved with 3,200,000 ten-pound bricks.

1911 The first Indianapolis 500 Mile race is held May 30. A Marmon Wasp averages 75 miles per hour to win. The Wasp employs streamlining via elongated front and rear sections and adds the innovation of a rearview mirror.

1911 Haynes Automobile Company is the first to equip an open car with a top, a windshield, headlamps and a speedometer as standard equipment.

1912 Stutz Motor Car Company is founded by Harry C. Stutz, who merges his Stutz Auto Parts with Ideal Motor Car.

1912-Stutz-Model-A Roadster
1912-Stutz-Model-A Roadster

1912 The Davis car is the first to have a center-control gearshift and the Bendix self-starter.

1912 The Stutz Bearcat is introduced with a design patterned on the White Squadron racing cars that won victories in 1913. Stutz also produces family cars, while the Bearcat provides lively competition for the Mercer made at Trenton, New Jersey.

1913 On July 1, the Lincoln Highway Association is created with Henry B. Joy (president, Packard Motor Company) as president and Carl G. Fisher as vice president. The Lincoln Highway is conceived as America’s first transcontinental highway.

1913 Premier and Studebaker concurrently introduce a six-cylinder engine featuring mono bloc engine casting.

1914 The Haynes is one of the first autos to offer the Vulcan Electric Gear Shift as standard equipment.

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

Mileposts in Indiana automotive history -Part One

To learn more about Indiana’s automotive innovation, I invite you to pick up a copy of Indiana Cars: A History of the Automobile in Indiana click here.