“Grandsire of Gasoline Cars” Is Born - 10/14/1857

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On this present day in October 14, 1857, the great engineer and inventor Elwood Haynes was born in Portland, Indiana. Haynes was one of the very first few people to design one of the very first American automobiles called the Haynes Pioneer. He died of influenza in 1925, at the age of 68. Haynes was also a gifted metallurgist, entrepreneur, industrialist who also patented stainless steel.

After finishing his graduate studies at John Hopkins University, Haynes became the manager of a natural-gas plant in Kokomo, Indiana. Part of the job requires a lot of travelling, since there was no automobile then, He had to travel in horse-drawn vehicles most on bad and untarred roads and even in rural areas, where the case was worsened. All this experiences made the engineer spend so many hours thinking of how to create a machine that can is efficient and can carry man farther and faster than the strongest animal.

The first idea that came to Hayne's mind was to rig up a steam power car. This thought came along with the necessity of a continuous water supply as well as the imminent fire hazard. He then thought about electric engine, which also had heavy weight as its negative side. Eventually, one cylinder and one horsepower gasoline sounded like the best idea to Haynes for is machine. Hayne's buggy at its final stage was a push start vehicle with a chain drive weighing 820 pound without the capacity of going on reverse or taking more than one person at a time. The open bodied vehicle with steering tiller and 28-inch bicycle wheels was built with the help of brothers Elmer and Edger Apperson who had the pecuniary reward of 40 cents per hour.

Haynes took his buggy for a test on 4 July 1894 alongside a team of horses through to the Kokomo outskirt. On the test missions, Haynes realized, after leaving the horses behind at the speed of 6 to 7km/hr. that a new era is approaching in the world of locomotion. He succinctly wrote two decades later, "It became a known fact to me that a new dispensation is coming for highway travel."

Elwood Haynes was the first person to pioneer driving a 1,000miles in a motor car in 1899, and donated that original pioneer to the Smithsonian in 1910. By 1995, the car had become famous, having its appearance on U.S. postage stamp. 

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Mike Sexton

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