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Elwood Haynes in the Haynes automobile

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Elwood Haynes in the Haynes automobile
Smithsonian Institution, Negative #: 86-1518


This object appears in the following sections:

Making Sense of "Failed" Car Technology — Not so Famous Makes

Smithsonian Automobile Collection — Car collection, pre-1900

Haynes automobile, manufactured in 1894
Haynes automobile, manufactured in 1894

1894 Haynes (on right) displayed next to the 1893 Duryea in the Smithsonian's old automobile hall
1894 Haynes (on right) displayed next to the 1893 Duryea in the Smithsonian's old automobile hall

Duryea automobile

Haynes automobile
Catalog #: 262,135, Accession #: 52,009
In collection
From the Smithsonian Collection

This 1894 automobile, known as the Haynes “Pioneer,” was donated to the Smithsonian in 1910 by Elwood Haynes, its designer. Haynes (1857-1925) was president of the Haynes Automobile Company at the time he donated his car to the Institution. The car was built in Kokomo, Ind., in 1894. According to The Encyclopedia of American Business History and Biography's entry on Haynes in the Automobile Industry, 1896-1920, written by Ralph D. Gray, “to the delight of the builders, the engine caught at once (having no crank initially, it was push started), and the car moved off under its own power, reaching a speed of 7 to 8 mph.” Elwood Haynes claimed the “Pioneer” was the first American automobile well after it was clear that there were other, earlier automobiles—including the Duryea which is in the museum's collection.

Physical Description
Artifact. This four-wheeled vehicle has an open framework carrying machinery and a buggy-style body without a top. At the time it was collected by the museum, the Haynes Pioneer had been modified from its original form. Those modifications—done in 1896—included replacing the original one-horsepower engine with a two-h.p. one and replacing the wire spoke cushion-tire wheels with single-tube pneumatic tires. The Smithsonian had the car restored in 1961. The car is crank started and has a chain drive and a steering tiller. The automobile does not operate in reverse. The gasoline tank is beneath the floor of the automobile. The vehicle weighs about 1,000 pounds.
Date Made:
Gift of Elwood Haynes
The Haynes Automobile Company was one of many small companies that built cars in the United States in the first decades of the 20th century. The company was started after Elwood Haynes—supervisor of the Indiana Natural Gas & Oil Company in Kokomo, Ind.—came up with the plan to build a gasoline engined vehicle. Haynes worked with the Elmer and Edgar Apperson who owned the Riverside Machine Shop to build a car in 1894. That vehicle took its first test run on July 4, 1894. The three men went into business together, forming the Haynes-Apperson Company in 1896. (It was officially incorporated in 1898.) Both Appersons had left the Haynes-Apperson Company by 1902, and they began making automobiles under their own name, setting up the Apperson Brothers Automobile Company in Kokomo. In 1905, the company formerly known as the Haynes-Apperson Company became the Haynes Automobile Company to reflect the changed ownership. Haynes continued to make cars until the 1920s, when bad times hit. In 1924, the company was declared bankrupt and went out of business in 1925.
Related People, Places, and Events
Elwood Haynes

Donor, Manufacturer, User
Elwood Haynes (1857 - 1925)
Elwood Haynes was born in Indiana in 1857. After taking some time to graduate from high school, Elwood went to Worcester Country Free Institute of Industrial Science in Massachusetts. He graduated 1881 and then taught school. By 1883, he was the principal of Portland High School in Portland, Ind. Haynes went to work for the Portland Natural Gas and Oil Company in 1886, and moved to Kokomo in 1892. As well as designing the Haynes automobile, Elwood was an inventor and metallurgist—most notably, he patented two alloys: stainless steel, and stellite. Along with the Haynes Automobile Company, he set up a company to produce stellite which was an alloy that was used to manufacture machine tools. The Stellite Company was bought by Union Carbide in 1920. Haynes was an avid supporter of prohibition and ran for the Senate in 1916 on the prohibition ticket. He died in 1925.

Related Person
Elmer Apperson (1861 - 1920)
Elmer Apperson was born in Indiana in 1861. After going to public school, he worked as a mechanic and then opened the Riverside Machine Works in 1888. Elmer and his brother Edgar broke off from Haynes in 1902 to start their own car manufacturing concern. Elmer had a stroke in 1917 and died in 1920.

Related Person
Edgar Apperson (1869)
Edgar was Elmer's younger brother and was born in 1869. He, too, went to public school in Indiana. He worked for his brother at the Riverside Machine Works in the late 19th century and later owned a bicycle shop. He helped build the Haynes Pioneer, and was chief engineer and designer for Haynes-Apperson Company. The Apperson brothers split and off from Haynes in 1902, and formed the Apperson Brothers Automobile Company. Edgar left the company he and his brother co-founded in 1923.

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