Winton's Visit the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum

Posted on November 01, 2023


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   In early November 2023, Mr. Jim Winton and his friends Peg and Tom Kelting and Lowan Laws visited the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum. Mr. Winton is the great-grandson of Alexander Winton, who founded the Winton Motor Carriage Company in Cleveland in 1897. Alexander Winton had been manufacturing bicycles in Cleveland before becoming one of the first automobile manufacturers in the United States. Alexander built his first car in 1896 and is credited with many “firsts” in the automobile industry. Alexander obtained several patents for items he developed for his automobile, and he is considered to be an important figure in the early automobile industry both in Cleveland and nationwide. Around 1912,  Alexander also founded the Winton Engine Company to manufacture engines of various types and uses. The Winton automobile was manufactured from 1897 until 1924, when automobile production stopped and the company then focused on the manufacture of diesel engines for stationary and marine use, heavy vehicles, and locomotives.  General Motors bought the Winton Engine Company in 1930. The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum has several examples of the Winton bicycle and the Winton automobile in its collection.

     Jim Winton is not a stranger to the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum. In addition to his prior visits to the museum, in 1997 he helped to organize and participated in a reenactment of the historic 1899 Cleveland-to-New York City road trip that his great-grandfather made along with a newspaper reporter. The 1997 reenactment involved the Crawford Museum’s 1899, 1907, and 1921 Winton automobiles, along with some other privately-owned Winton automobiles. Jim drove his cousin’s 1916 Winton automobile during the road trip. The 1997 reenactment road trip was covered by a Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter who rode in one of the Winton automobiles.

    During his November visit, Mr. Winton spent time looking over the 1899 and 1907 Winton automobiles that are on display in the museum, and he talked a little bit about each of them. Mr. Winton and his friends also checked out the other vehicles on display in the museum. All of them showed an appreciation for the history of the Crawford Collection and they were all interesting individuals to talk with.

    Everyone at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum enjoyed seeing Mr. Winton and his friends during their visit to the Museum and hopes to see them again in the future. It is always a pleasure for those associated with the Museum to get the opportunity to talk with someone like Mr. Winton who has a historical connection to Cleveland’s early automobile industry.

Article written by Bill Carlson, Crawford Volunteer


Western Reserve Historical Society is the oldest cultural institution in Northeast Ohio, the region's largest American history research center, and one of the leading genealogical research centers in the nation.

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