Moore, John C.

1869 - 1951

Mechanic and Auto Engineer.  John C. Moore was born in 1869 at Oxford, near Georgetown, Kentucky.  He was a self-educated mechanic, who became a pioneer automotive engineer and inventor.  During the 1890s, the bicycle had developed into the later craze and Moore operated a bicycle repair shop in Georgetown.  In 1893, he came in second in a Winchester to Lexington bicycle race.  He completed the twenty-mile course, over muddy roads, in fifty-eight minutes and thirty-two seconds.

John C. Moore 

By 1899, he began experimenting with the motor car and built the first car in Georgetown.  He assembled his automobile from an old carriage, with a gasoline engine attached.  When he test-drove his invention out on the streets of Georgetown, people considered him “crazy” for wasting time on a “horseless carriage.”  Over the next few years, he continued to tinker with designs and build a second automobile in 1901.  In 1907, he relocated to Lexington to work for the Blue Grass Automobile Company.  This company sold and repaired automobiles for Dayton Motor Car Company, Dayton, Ohio, makers of the Stoddard – Dayton Motor Car.

In 1908, he built a prototype motor car from assembled parts, which evolved the next year into the Lexington Motor Car.  Based upon this design, Kinzea Stone and others invested in the idea of manufacturing automobiles in Lexington.

He became the Superintendent of the Lexington Motor Car Company in 1908 and oversaw the vehicle assembly at the plant.  He participated in both the 1909 and 1910 Glidden Tours.  In 1910, he relocated with the company to Connersville, Indiana, and became the company’s Chief Engineer.

In 1911, Moore refined a multiple exhaust system that raised the horsepower by a reported thirty (30%).  Each cylinder had a separate exhaust, channeled into dual mufflers.  In 1915, he designed the Lexington Minute Man Six and Thoroughbred Six Models.  In 1917, Moore put together a new frame, with a rigid box cross-section, that eliminated the problem of jammed doors caused by frame flexing.  This car also had an emergency brake affixed to the drive shaft.  He continued inventing improvements to the Lexington that kept the company ahead of its competition.

He continued to serve as Chief Engineer for the company until the reorganization of the company in 1923.  He also designed the Improved Moore Transmission in the 1920s for the Tractor-Train Company, which increased the traction power of Ford Trucks.  He died in Connersville during 1951.[i]


[i]   The Georgetown Times, Georgetown, Kentucky, January 19, 1921, page 3, The Motor Car is the Magic Carpet of Modern Times, Lexington Motor Company, Connersville, Indiana, circa 1920, Scott County Kentucky: A History, Scott County Historical Society, Georgetown, Kentucky, 1993, page 241 and 290, The Lexington Automobile: A Complete History, Richard A. Stanley, McFarland & Company, Jefferson, North Carolina, 2007, pages 5, 7, 11, 15, 23–27, 30, 41, 46, 50–51, 56, 72, 82, 96, 102, 109, 127, 135, 137, 148–149, 172, 182, 186, 199–201 and The Evening News – Examiner, Connersville, Indiana, May 28, 1951, page 1.


William M. Ambrose, Lexington Motor Car, Limestone Press, Lexington, 2007.