Robert Allison is recognized as the first man in the U.S. to buy an auto, a Winton, in March 1898. Ten years later Winton and the media recognized him as the first automobile buyer, and used the event to help publicize the Winton six cylinder car, the "Six-Teen-Six":
The Packard brothers bought one of those early Wintons. When they suggested some improvements to Alexander Winton he told them if they didn't like his car they should go build their own, so they did. The 1899 Packard was the first car with a steering wheel.
Don't believe everything you read.
Certainly, privately built automobiles were built and sold long before 1898. A well known and well documented example is the electric automobile built by William Morrison of Des Moines, Iowa. The car was sold to Harold Sturgis who demonstrated the car as early as 1893 at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and throughout the rest of the country in the 1890s.
The Duryea Motor Wagon is considered to be the first mass produced commercially produced automobile in the U.S. - 13 cars built and sold in 1896. The only surviving example is in the Henry Ford Museum.
The Duryea Motor Wagon is considered to be the first mass produced commercially built automobile in the U.S. - 13 cars built and sold in 1896.
What year did Henry Ford sell the Quadricycle? Maybe he beat Winton here, too.
I came across this while searching "all things Ford." For whatever reason the media credited Robert Allison with buying the first U.S. auto. Winton seemed more than willing to exploit the car and buyer with news releases ten years later, also promoting their six cylinder Six-Teen-Six touring car at the same time.
Of course, as with Paul Harvey (RIP), "the rest of the story."
It seems Ford was more than happy to release this news bit that the original buyer, Robert Allison, chose to buy a "Ford six cylinder touring car" on the tenth anniversary of the "first auto purchase in America".
My guess is the "definition" is production automobiles. As with many "firsts", it's probably in the eye of the beholder.
Duryea produced a car in 1893 and as Erik indicated built and sold 13 Motor Wagons in 1896. It seems to me that though Mr. Allison may have received credit, but it is most likely someone else was really first. If the Duryeas had Henry's talent and determination, they might have produced the car that changed the world instead of Ford.
When I "google" the first automobile purchased in the U.S. this is one of the first results (from Wikipedia):
Trust me, I know what it's like to disagree with "conventional history"
I can only imagine Ford's gloating as he rebuffed Winton's offer to buy him out.......
Charles B king was registered to run in the 1895 Chicago Times race. He had a car already built and had been driving it when someone wanted to buy it and offered him a good price. So Charles B King began building another car, which unfortunately was not ready in time for the race in November 1895. He went to the race anyway without the car (he completed it a bit later). The driver for the Benz in the race had become ill (some said poisoned). So the Benz team hired the only experienced gasoline automobile driver available, Charles B King. The Duryeas had to beat a Benz to win the race, and King was driving it.
I believe Winton had been building experimental cars for a few years by 1898. I would imagine he sold several of those before 1898. Though not well worded, I would speculate this particular sale was the first of an official company sale from a continuing business. The Duryeas produced a short run of cars in 1896 after the 1895 race. They kept a few, sold the rest. Then went on about designing and promoting automobiles in general and engines in particular. They and Charles King continued to manufacture and sell engines to others for use in automobiles.
The Duryeas took two of their cars to England and Europe, running them in a variety of races and exhibitions. They won a number of them much to the surprise of those they beat.
However, the Duryea Brothers were not getting along well. They had different ideas about how to run the business. What kind of cars to make and sell, or maybe they should just stick with building engines. To top it off, each brother believed that THEY were the one responsible for their success. They went their separate ways soon after returning to the USA.
I think quite a few cars were built and sold as individuals during the 1890s. Many were not sold having been built by people with the intent to keep them. But I have a list of over 400 individuals or small businesses that built an automobile from only one up to a few all before 1900. There are 238 names on the list said to build an automobile before 1898. Surely some of them were sold.
The first automobile/road machine to be sold and bought may go back to about 1864 and I think it may have been in Wisconsin. But the machine was more of a steam tractor.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Wikipedia is generally as accurate and reliable as stuff found written on the bathroom walls of a Texaco station.
One must be careful of news media reports from any era. They are often filled with intentional mis - statements, often repeated from one newspaper to the next, as many reporters simply reported what they read in another paper. Simply finding a news paper report does not insure factuality.
This may be an urban legend, but I heard that the first two owners of automobiles in New York state agreed to meet somewhere and compare cars. They traveled from opposite directions to the agreed meeting place and promptly collided with one another, creating New York's first automobile accident.
Your right, we probably shouldn't "believe" Wikipedia. That is a collection of assorted news stories and information from a multitude of sources.
We certainly shouldn't believe 100 plus year old news stories. Those sources might have conspired to report inaccurately, so as to mislead people reading their daily reporting of events a hundred years into the future. Probably can't believe any media come to think of it.
Let's see, what does that leave us?
I was beginning to wonder if you were away. This thread made through the night before you posted.
Speaking of 100-year-plus-old news stories, I believe that last one you posted has a typo. In the last paragraph, shouldn't that be 1898, not 1908?