In 1896 there were but five gasoline automobiles in the United States; the Duryea, Ford, Haynes, Lambert, and an imported Benz. All five were purely experimental machines, although considerable effort was made to sell duplicates of the Duryea and Haynes. There was absolutely no market and it was not until March 24, 1898, that the first bonafide sale was consummated. Alexander Winton, who ranked with the pioneers, Duryea, Ford and Haynes, from the view point of experimentation, sold a one-cylinder Winton automobile to Robert Allison, of Port Carbon, PA; received payment for it and shipped the car to Allison April 1, 1898.
The Waverley Company, of Indianapolis, built its first electric carriage in 1897.
note: the first Studebaker automobiles were electric 1902.
The National Road, built early in the nineteenth century, from Cumberland, MD, through PA, OH, IN and IL, was the first and only attempt of the Federal Government to stand sponsor for a highway project. The road was approximately 1,000 miles long and was used extensively until the day when railroads paralleled it. It fell into disuse and disrepair, and about 1840 was abandoned as one entire road. From the time it was built until the present, parts of it have been in constant use. In 1910, when interest in long permanent roads for automobiles use was kindled, the route of the old National Road was rediscovered, and since then it has been repaired and still is in use today.
The first super speedway to be built in the United States was the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, over which annually a 500 mile contest was staged. The moving spirits of the track were Carl G. Fisher, James A. Allison, Arthur C. Newby, and Frank H. Wheeler. The Indianapolis course was built of brick and was constructed for a theoretical speed of 61 miles per hour. The theoretical speed limit is point where the car begins to skid. On the brick turns at Indianapolis, the slewing and slipping of the driving wheels begin after a speed of 61 miles an hour was attained. That, however, is not the practical and actual limit of speed that could be attained on the track. The 2.5 mile oval is capable of accommodating a much higher rate as has been shown in the races since 1911 and in numerous public and private trials.
Indiana once vied for Michigan’s title as the automotive titan of the United States. It was at a time when the names of automobiles like Duesenberg, Stutz and Cord brought worldwide acclaim to the Hoosier state. Indiana’s contributions to automotive history have been numerous. Tilt steering, cruise control and hydraulic brakes are just three examples of the innovations created by Indiana automotive pioneers. Yet the innovators themselves have become nearly forgotten–overlooked as we take their inventions increasing for granted as part of the standard equipment on today’s models.
Indiana’s automotive innovation began with Elwood Haynes’ kitchen experiment on an internal combustion engine in the fall of 1893. Haynes’ research and development led to the demonstration of his “Pioneer” automobile along Pumpkivine Pike, outside Kokomo, on July 4, 1894. Haynes and two passengers traveled at a speed of seven miles an hour and drove about one and one-half miles further into the country. He then turned the auto around, and ran the four miles into town without making a single stop.
“I remember as the “little machine” made its way along the streets we were met by a “bevy” of girls mounted on wheels.,” Haynes noted. “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.”
In 1898 the Haynes-Apperson Company was incorporated and auto production was on its way in Indiana.
By the late 1800s Indiana’s plentiful supply of lumber had also lured several industries into its borders, including the makers of carriages and wagons. The automobile industry in the early 1900s was a natural offspring of carriage manufacturers, which could provide not just parts but the skilled labor as well. Five Indiana manufacturers entered commercial automobile production in the late 1890s.
By 1900, The Haynes-Apperson Automobile Company was one of the few firms in the country with annual production exceeding 100 units. In the 1900s, 74 different models were introduced by Indiana manufacturers. These models range from A to Z, with names like Auburn, Cole, InterState, Lambert, Marmon, Maxwell, National, Overland, Premier, Richmond, Studebaker, Waverly, and Zimmerman.
The growth spurt between 1910 and 1920 separated the nation’s auto makers into two groups–the “mass-produced auto giants” and the “craftsmen.” Most of Indiana’s auto makers chose to be “craftsmen” and purchased automotive parts and assembled them by hand. Thus, these companies were small, and many became known for producing high-class and high-priced cars. Nearly every one of the Indiana cars that became well-known were in this category, includ¬ing names like Duesenberg, Cord, Stutz and Cole, appealing to the upper end of the consumer market.
The teens saw the introduction of another 69 Indiana models. Included in this group are Elcar, Empire, Jack Rabbit, Lexington, McIntyre, McFarlan, Monroe, Parry, ReVere, and Stutz.
Until about 1920, there seemed to enough demand for both the “mass-produced” and “high-quality” cars. However, a series of eco¬nomic factors at this time helped contribute to the decline of Hoosier auto making. Price slashing and an expansion-crazed environment trapped Indiana manufacturers in a philosophical battle with the Michigan titans. Hoosiers were ill-prepared for this kind of competition, and most wanted to remain craftsmen choosing to concen¬trate on “higher priced” vehicles instead of diversifying. Plus, the economic recession in the early 1920s added more financial burdens on the population, which became increasingly interested in the “mass-produced auto.”
Michigan had the financial backers willing to commit financial resources to give the state’s auto manufacturing the boost it needed. The Hoosier financial community generally proved to be of little assistance to its own local automobile industry.
Indiana in the twenties saw this decline to 22 models introduced. Among these were Blackhawk, Cord, Duesenberg, Elgin, Erskine, H.C.S., Lafayette, and Roosevelt.
Studebaker was the lone Hoosier survivor of the depression, continuing production for another 30 years, ending in December 1963.
Commercial production of the automobile in America began a little over 120 years ago, and America’s lifestyle has never been the same. Indiana automakers have made many contributions to that history. So, the next time you drive your car, you might wonder where you’d be without Indiana’s continuing automotive innovation and contributions.
For more information on Indiana cars & companies, follow this link.
Throughout the past, Indiana manufacturers have made major contributions to the automobile. For example, in 1902, the Marmon motorcar had an air-cooled overhead valve V-twin engine and a revolutionary lubrication system that used a drilled crankshaft to keep its engine bearings lubricated with oil-fed under pressure by a gear pump. This was the earliest automotive application of a system that has long since become universal to internal combustion piston engine design.
Would you believe tilt-steering was introduced in 1903by Haynes? The 1903 Haynes use of a tilting steering column allowed easy access for the driver and/or passenger upon entering of leaving the vehicle. This feature didn’t become popular on most production cars until about seventy years later.
In 1911 Haynes Automobile Company was the first to equip an open car with a top, a windshield, head lamps and a speedometer as standard equipment.
Studebaker introduced a deferred payment plan in 1916 with an initial 25 percent cash payment and 12 equal monthly payments. In less than ten years, 50 percent of all cars sold in America were bought on time.
In 1922, The Model A Duesenberg was the first U.S. production motorcar with hydraulic brakes, the first with an overhead camshaft, and the first U.S. straight eight engine. Ninety-two of these luxury cars were sold in 1922, a number that rose to 140 in 1923.
Stutz installed safety-glass windshields as standard equipment on its 1926 high-priced motorcar models.
The first motorcar with front-wheel drive, The Cord L-29, was introduced by E. L. Cord’s Auburn Automobile Company. Front-wheel drive didn’t become popular for another 50 years. Also in 1929 Marmon warranted a listing in the Guiness Book of Records for its factory-installed radio.
The Cord 810 introduced in 1936 was a sleek modern motorcar with advanced features that include disappearing headlights, rheostat-controlled instrument lights, variable speed windshield wipers, a steering column mounted electric gear pre-selection unit, and was the first automobile in this country to adopt full unit body construction.
Studebaker was the first American car to offer windshield washers in 1937.
Ralph Teetor, Perfect Circle Corporation president, invented cruise control debuting in 1958 on the Chrysler Imperial, New Yorker and Windsor models.
For the 1964 model year, its last in Indiana, Studebaker broke with the majors and became the first U.S. maker to offer seat belts as standard equipment.
That’s the story of Indiana automotive innovations. For more information on Indiana cars & companies, follow this link.
The 60th Anniversary Annual Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival is on August 28 thru September 5. Auctions America is busy preparing for its flagship Auburn Fall Collector Car Weekend, August 31 – September 4 at Indiana’s historic Auburn Auction Park. A Labor Day tradition spanning more than 45 years, the multi-day event coincides with the world-famous Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival, making for an ultimate celebration of the collector car hobby. On Saturday, September 3, ACD Club members from around the world drive their magnificent classic cars through the streets of Auburn with review at the Courthouse Square. These beautifully-painted, chrome-laden Auburns, Cords and Duesenbergs are sights you will not want to miss. After the parade, these classics are parked around the Courthouse Square for your viewing pleasure. What a great opportunity to get a close-up view and chat with the owners! Of course, you should stop by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, the National Automobile and Truck Museum, and the Early Ford V8 Foundation Museum to see the special cars for this event.
Kokomo Salutes Indiana’s Automotive Heritage on September 5-11, 2016. The festivities start on September 5-8 with the Hoosier Heritage Bicentennial Driving Tour: Northern & Southern Auto Tours for early domestic and un-modified cars built up to 1976, with a priority given to Indiana-built cars. On Saturday, September 10, four auto shows will be in Highland Park – The Haynes-Apperson Reunion, CCCA Grand Classic, Grand Stutz, and Mighty Marmon Motor Muster. The Grand Bicentennial Motor Muster is on Sunday, September 11. It features Indiana-built cars from 1894 and special interest domestic cars through 1976 in Jackson-Morrow Park. Mark your calendars and register your car for these various events. For more information about the Hoosier Heritage Bicentennial Driving Tour, the Grand Bicentennial Motor Muster. or the Haynes-Apperson Reunion, contact event chairman Jeff Shively Tuesday thru Friday from 10-4pm, at (765) 454-9999 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Festival of Machines is on September 17 & 18, 10-5 pm at Connor Prairie. A select group of concours quality classic cars will be showcased throughout this two-day festival. View these beautiful machines up close and learn the unique story behind each one. This is one of the better car festivals in Central Indiana.
For more information on Indiana rides & drives follow this link.
Auto advertising promoting a certain lifestyle came on the scene in the mid 1910’s. A lifestyle illustration portrays the message while the ad copy plays a lessor role.
In the early 1910’s, we see a transition to retouched photographs for illustration. Inter-State Automobile Company’s July 1912 Cosmopolitan Magazine ad shouted, “The Automobile for Women. Inter-State starts and obeys the will of the woman driver as readily, as simply as an electric coupe.” The copy regarding the self-contained tire pump proclaims, “Any woman can attach the valve to the tire, turn on the pump and in a few minutes have tires just as solid and as perfectly filled as if done by the greatest tire expert in the world.” The retouched photographs portray women using these new features.
An elegant line illustration promoted the ambiance of women going to the country club in a Pathfinder ad from 1916. The copy read, “A great deal more than money is involved in the purchase of a Pathfinder. Love of luxury and beauty, cultivated taste and keen appreciation of what is best in motor car construction are important factors in the equation.” Car description and pricing are downplayed with eight point type.
An August 1918 Haynes ad proclaimed, “Haynes Stability.” The copy talked about Haynes’ Silver Anniversary of motor car building. The illustration portrayed seven fashionably dressed women in a touring car at the beach.
The Apperson 8 is announced as, “The Eight with Eighty Less Parts” in 1919. “For the owner who considers his car something more than a mere conveyance, who demands that in color, line and appointments it reflects a patrician taste – the Apperson 8,” read the copy. The illustration showed a chauffeur waiting as the lady of the house is assisted with her coat before going out for the evening.
These early auto advertisements demonstrate the evolution of advertising in the early part of the twentieth century. They move on from a product emphasis to promoting a lifestyle.
For more information on Indiana cars & companies follow this link.