A Window Into the Past

From Clessie Cummins to J. Irwin Miller, a look back at the early years of innovation at Cummins.

J. Irwin Miller: Portrait of a Leader

Today, Cummins is recognized worldwide as a leader in the manufacture of diesel engines and related components. That distinction would not have happened without the foresight and dedication of former president and CEO J. Irwin Miller.

During the early years of our company, founder Clessie Cummins made the most of publicity – and his movie camera – by chronicling several milestones of his innovation. In celebration of our 90th Anniversary, we present Clessie Cummins in his own home movies, redone as 1930s newsreels.

Ride in Style in the First Diesel Passenger Car

In 1935, Clessie Cummins set out to once again break barriers once thought off-limits to diesel engines. He modified his Model A engine to make it lighter and more powerful. The engine was placed into an Auburn Automobile Company car, creating the first ever diesel-powered passenger car.

Cummins Takes a Chance at the Indianapolis 500

Clessie Cummins wanted to test out his experimental new two-stroke conversion engine against his traditional four-stroke. In place of a traditional testing ground, Cummins chose the 1934 Indianapolis 500 to test his two engines.

Board Our Co-Founder's Bus as He Goes Coast-to-Coast

Clessie Cummins wanted to establish his company in the fast-growing bus market. His idea was to perform the same stunt that launched Cummins’ successful inclusion in the trucking industry: a coast-to-coast run.

Cummins Endurance Tested at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Clessie Cummins wanted to capitalize on increasing attention being shown in the diesel engine market. Cummins seized the opportunity to showcase his new Model H truck engine by staging an endurance test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

A Coast-to-Coast Ride

Clessie Cummins realized the potential for his company to grow by entering the trucking market. To stir up publicity, Cummins drove from New York City to Los Angeles, displaying his engine's dependability and efficiency. The Indiana Trucking Company provided the truck that made the cross country endurance run.

Take a Trip Back to Daytona Beach in 1930

After learning that British automotive company Sunbeam was going to attempt to break the world speed record on the beaches of Daytona, FL, Clessie Cummins drove his Packard Roadster, equipped with a Cummins Model U engine, down to the Sunshine State to try to drum up some free publicity. Cummins generated a buzz by attempting to set the first official speed record for a diesel powered car in May.

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