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WINTON, ALEXANDER

WINTON, ALEXANDER (20 June 1860-21 June 1932), automobile developer and popularizer, was born in Grangemouth, Scotland, to Alexander and Helen Fea Winton. He came to the U.S. at 19, and worked in Delameter Iron Works and a marine engine shop before arriving in Cleveland in 1884. In 1891 he organized Winton Bicycle Co., manufacturing a bicycle design he patented that year. The business flourished, but within 10 years Winton left it to manufacture automobiles, completing his first motor car in 1896, incorporating WINTON MOTOR CARRIAGE CO. in 1897, and on 28 July beginning America's first reliability run, a 9-day drive to New York, stimulating investment and permitting construction of 4 more cars. The sale of one of these on 24 Mar. 1898 was the first of an American-made standard-model gasoline automobile. In 1899 Winton made a better-publicized 5-day drive to New York, boosting interest and expanding sales.

Winton continued developing new automobile models, including racing cars, but a decline in sales in the 1920s prompted Winton to liquidate that company and concentrate on Winton Gas Engine & Mfg. Co., formed in 1912 to produce marine engines (see CLEVELAND DIESEL ENGINE DIV. OF GENERAL MOTORS CORP.). In 1913 the company produced the first American diesel engine. Winton retired after selling the firm to GM in 1930.

Married 4 times, his first was in 1883 to Jeanie Muir McGlashan (d. 1903) with whom he had six children: Helen F., James M., Agnes M. Jeanie, Cathrine, and Alexander. In 1906, he married LaBelle McGlashan (d. 1924) and they had two children: LaBelle and Clarice. In 1927 Winton married Marion Campbell (divorced 1930); and in 1930, Mary Ellen Avery. Winton died in Cleveland and was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.


Wager, Richard. Golden Wheels (1975).