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.

Date Made: 1903

Contributor: Firestone, Jr., Harvey S.User: Crocker, Sewall K.Maker: Winton Engine Company

Associated Place: United States: CaliforniaUnited States: IdahoUnited States: New York

See more items in: Work and Industry: Transportation, Road, Automobiles, America on the Move, Transportation, Road Transportation

Exhibition: America On The Move

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Credit Line: Gift of Col. H. Nelson Jackson

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: TR.312831.01Catalog Number: 312831Accession Number: 167685

Object Name: automobileOther Terms: Road


Record Id: nmah_843068

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