Golias Publishing, Inc.
7271 Lonesome Pine Tr.
Medina, Ohio 44256
The Story of Alexander Winton; Automotive Pioneer and Industrialist

What's in Print

Gabe Konrad, Bicycle Magazine

Sometimes the places where you find bicycle history can take you by suprise. About a year ago I was looking at the bicycle books at a remainder bookshop in Chicago, and I happened to notice a book called The Humber Story, by Demaus and Tarring (1989), in the neighboring bin of car titles. I took a look, and to my shock there was a champet on Humber bicycles! Now, of course, I'm more attentive to books on the bicycle's bastard child - the automobile. This directly relates to my first review book, Famous But Forgotten: The Story of Alexander Winton, Automotive Pioneer and Industrialist by Thomas F. Saal and Bernard J. Golias.

Famous But Forgotten (Golias Publishing, Inc., softcover, 143 pages, 1997, ISBN: 0-9653785-1-9, $29.95) is and automotive book.

It tells, in pretty good detail, the story of Alexander Winton who, after producing bicycles from 1892 to 1895, dove headlong into the auto manufacturing world. Winton, who is a stranger to most of us, held over a hundred patents, some of which were groundbreaking technology that were the basis for the mechanisms that run our cars today. And he was generous with this technology with his competitors when safety was and issue. Prior to a race in 1901, Winton gave Henry Ford one of his new complete steering mechanisms with a steering wheel assembly because he thought someone would get killed with the device Ford was using. Ford went on to win the event, But Winton consoled himself that it was with his steering gear.

Winton's early days were in the bicycle industry, and while the authors might be stretching it a bit when they state that Winton was a "world-renowned bicycle manufacturing company," they made a fine product and had many admirers.

Unfortunately, and this is the bad part for us bike buffs, the cycling history of Winton makes up only a few pages of the book, and only three illustrations. Not because the authors didn't want to include more, But because information on the Winton bike days is so incredibly scarce. Some bike related topics do turn up later in the book, like when Winton hired Earl Kiser, an ex-bike racer from Dayton, to race cars for him in 1904 and 1905. It was an affair that ended when Kiser had to have a leg amputated after a bad crash.

Yes, Saal and Golias have done an excellent job of exploring the sometimes rocky personal life of Alexander Winton, as well as the ups and downs of the early automotive industry.