Alexander Winton was an immigrant from Scotland who, upon arriving to America, opened the Winton Bicycle Company. He had also worked on a steamship as an engineer.
The Winton Motor Carriage Company of Cleveland, Ohio is credited with being the first company in the United States to sell a motor car. The vehicles were termed 'horseless carriages' and included gas lamps, padded seats, and rubber tires made by the Goodrich Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio. Winton is credited with more than 100 patents.
In May of 1897, Winton had created a ten horsepower automobile that was able to achieve a speed of 33.6 mph on a horse track in Cleveland, Ohio. The engine was a one cylinder, water cooled, horizontal power plant. The transmission had two forward and one reverse seeps. It was controlled by the driver through two levers. The transmission connected to a small shaft by chain and geared directly to a differential unit on the rear axle.
Soon after, an endurance run from Cleveland to New York City further proved the vehicles durability and evolving status in the transportation marketplace.
By the close of the century, it was among the world's largest manufacturers of gas-powered automobiles. A dealership was established in Reading, PA and operated by H. Koler to help with the sale and distribution of Winton Automobiles.
In 1902 a specialty built vehicle termed the Winton Bullet achieved an unofficial land speed record of 70 mph. The vehicle was entered in various races and achieved mild success.
In 1903 a Winton driven by Horatio Jackson became the first individual to drive an automobile across the United States.
In 1912, Winton created the Winton Engine Company which specialized in building both gasoline and diesel engines.
The early 1900's were both exciting and difficult for automobile manufacturers. The motor car was new, evolving, and new inventions were being created daily. The designs were unique and the results of the vehicles on the race track dictated the sales on the following day. During this time there were hardships, growing competition, World Wars, Great Depressions and economic turmoil. By the early 1920's, many companies were experiencing hardships. This was true for the Winton Company. By the end of 1924, the Winton Company went out of business. Alexander Winton shifted his priorities to his Winton Engine Company. In June of 1930, the company became a subsidiary of General Motors. In 1937 GM reorganized the company as the Cleveland Engine Division of General Motors. In 1962, it was closed.