A prolific inventor and industrialist, he developed some of the earliest cars and helped advance the industries to sustain them.
He was one of the first to make a trial drive of a horseless carriage, which he named the Pioneer, that was powered by an internal combustion engine.
He helped develop the production of natural gas and oil in Indiana, then developed several metal alloys later useful in making his cars. He also helped develop the assembly-line methods for production.
His family was residing in Portland, Indiana, when he was born.
His test-drive of the Pioneer came a full two years before Henry Ford's Quardicycle, but unlike Ford, he never developed the industry behind his car.