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Winton automobile
Catalog #: 309,601, Accession #: 105,119
In collection
From the Smithsonian Collection
This automobile is the first car that the Winton Motor Carriage Company sold. Robert Allison bought it on March 24, 1898. Allison lived in Port Carbon, Pa., and was 70 years old at the time. The company later bought back the car and donated it to the Museum in 1929.
Physical Description
Artifact. This gasoline-powered automobile contains a one-cylinder, water-cooled, horizontal engine. The transmission is connected by a chain to a small shaft that is geared directly to a differential unit on the rear axle. The car has two forward speeds and one reverse, controlled by two levers to the driver's right and by a small knob. The automobile was steered by a tiller.
Date Made:
Gift of the Winton Engine Co., Cleveland, Ohio
Alexander Winton was a pioneer in the automobile manufacturing world. Winton was an immigrant from Scotland. He worked as an engineer on a steamship, in an iron works, and he started a bicycle repair shop before he began making bicycles in the 1890s. Many bicycle makers also became early automobile makers, and the Winton Company followed that path, beginning to make cars in the late 19th century. The Winton Motor Carriage Company was incorporated in 1897 and sold its first car in 1898. The Cleveland-based company was relatively successful in the first decades of the 20th century, but, unable to compete with the giants such as Ford, the Winton Company stopped making automobiles in 1924. A branch of the company continued to make diesel engines into the late 1920s; it was then was bought by General Motors.

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