Winton Touring Car, 1903

At the dawn of the twentieth century, many people believed that the automobile offered great potential as a practical means of transportation. Once expensive toys, automobiles were becoming faster and more powerful, but several obstacles hindered their widespread use. One of the most visible barriers was the extreme difficulty of driving long distances, particularly in the West with its rugged terrain and lack of improved roads. After two attempts by other motorists, H. Nelson Jackson, a physician from Burlington, Vermont, broke the cross-country barrier through sheer determination and perseverance. In the spring and summer of 1903, Jackson and his mechanic, Sewall Crocker, drove this 1903 Winton touring car from San Francisco to New York City. The trip took 64 days, including numerous delays while the two men waited for parts or paused to hoist the Winton up and over a gully. Their achievement changed the way Americans thought about long-distance automobile travel. It now seemed possible -- even desirable -- to move about the country in cars instead of trains. The pioneering 1903 trip inspired two rival teams of motorists, turning the much-publicized journey into a race. Within ten years there were plans for a coast-to-coast highway. By the late 1910s and early 1920s, hordes of vacationing autocampers with touring cars and tents ushered in the era of transcontinental motoring.
Object Name
date made
Firestone, Jr., Harvey S.
Crocker, Sewall K.
Winton Engine Company
associated place
United States: California
United States: Idaho
United States: New York
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Road Transportation
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
Road Transportation
American on the Move
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Col. H. Nelson Jackson
Additional Media

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