America’s First Car??

Elwood Haynes in a Haynes Pioneer
You probably never heard of Elwood Haynes before. Then again you probably never have heard of Stellite or Martensitic stainless steel either.  All three belong to the same person.

While there remains some question about who actually built the first car in America, only the Haynes was advertised as “America’s First Car.” This claim may have been based on the grounds that the 1893 Duryea was only a motorized buggy.

The Haynes Pioneer is best known as Indiana’s first internal engine powered automobile. Automotive history began in Elwood Haynes’ kitchen where he experiment with an internal combustion engine in the fall of 1893. 

The 1hp Stintz engine (originally developed to power boats) was mounted on sawhorses in the Haynes’ kitchen. After the engine started, uncontrolled speed and vibration pulled the sawhorses from their attachments to the floor. According to Haynes’ own recount in The Complete Motorist, the calamity ended when one of the battery wires wound around the motor shaft disconnecting the current shutting the engine off.

An historic demonstration of his Pioneer automobile along Pumpkinvine Pike in Kokomo, on July 4, 1894, preceded commercial automobile production by two years. Haynes later collaborated with the Apperson brothers to create the Haynes-Apperson Automobile Company in 1898. 

Commercial production in Indiana, and concurrently in the United States, began with the first recorded sale of a Haynes-Apperson automobile in the fall of 1896. They also had a number of production "first's" which are presented in this short film.


Co-founder Elwood Haynes changed the name of the company after fellow co-founders Elmer and Edgar Apperson left to form the Apperson Brothers Automobile Company in 1901. The Haynes Automobile company was declared bankrupt in 1924 and went out of business in 1925.

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