Elwood Haynes

Elwood Haynes, graduation portrait

Class of 1881

Even as early as his student days in the early 1880's, Elwood Haynes was interested in metal alloys. His senior thesis, "The Effect of Tungsten on Iron and Steel," is said to have come about as a result of his desire to find a material for razors which did not rust and tarnish.

After graduation from WPI and graduate studies at Johns Hopkins, Haynes returned to his native Indiana where he supervised laying of natural gas lines to Chicago. He began experimenting on a carriage powered by an internal combustion engine to provide faster transportation over long distances than the horse drawn carriage. The first trial run of his horseless carriage on July 4, 1894, in Kokomo, Indiana, qualified Haynes as the inventor of the very first automobiles. Improvements made in later years include a successful carburetor and the first muffler, and the use of aluminum in automobile engines.

Haynes continued his research in metal alloys, producing a cobalt-chromium alloy which would be used in dental and surgical instruments. In 1922, Haynes received the prestigious John Scott Medal for his "discoveries in stainless steel, stellite, and chrome-iron." Haynes died in 1925.

Selected Patents

Additional Readings

Elwood Haynes Gallery

  • Haynes' horseless carriage

  • Letterhead of Haynes Automobile Company

  • U.S. postage stamps issued in November, 1995, commemorate early automobiles, including the Duryea, Haynes, Columbia, Winton, and White.

  • Haynes 1894 automobile as depicted on the 1995 postage stamp.

  • Haynes wrote the ode for the Class of 1881 class tree ceremony.

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