Charles F. Kettering - Engineers, Career and Life

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Charles F. Kettering's Personal Details

Charles F

InformationDetail
BirthdayAugust 29, 1876
Died onNovember 25, 1958
NationalityAmerican
FamousBusinessman, Engineers, Inventors, Ohio State University, Business People, Electrical Engineers, Inventors & Discoverers
SpousesOlive Williams
Known asCharles Franklin Kettering
Childrens Eugene Kettering
Universities
  • Ohio State University
  • Ohio State University
  • The College of Wooster
Notable Alumnis
  • Ohio State University
Founder / Co-Founder
  • Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (Delco)
Discoveries / Inventions
  • Freon Refrigerant
Birth PlaceLoudonville, Ohio
GenderMale
FatherJacob Kettering
MotherMartha Hunter Kettering
Sun SignVirgo
Born inLoudonville, Ohio
Famous asInventor, Engineer & Businessman
Died at Age82

// Famous Engineers

Charles F. Kettering's photo

Who is Charles F. Kettering?

Widely revered as one of greatest inventers in America, Charles F. Kettering was an electrical engineer and an industrial pioneer. He was the vice president of General Motors Research Corporation, a position which he held for a continuous 27 years. He held 186 patents, which includes the electrical starting motor and leaded gasoline. His inventions are known to have made tremendous contribution to the development of the modern day automobile industry. Some of his inventions were also employed in the fields of aviation technologies, medical research and diesel locomotives. Kettering also spent a major chunk of his life as a devoted social philosopher, farmer and a school teacher. He also invented the Freon refrigerant, which is used for the purpose of refrigeration and air-conditioning. He developed the first aerial missile in the world, ‘Bug’, which laid the foundation for future inventions of guided missiles and the like. He made innumerable contributions to National Cash Register, where he invented the first electric cash register and accounting machines. He suffered from eye problems during his school and college days, which affected his initial education.

// Famous Businessman

Childhood & Early Life

Charles F. Kettering was born in Loudonville, Ohio, U.S.A as the fourth son of Jacob Kettering and Martha Hunter Kettering.

He was a voracious reader and an inquisitive child, who always wanted to find alternative and better ways of doing things. He attended the Loudonville High School, Loudonville.

After he graduated from high school, he took up a teaching job at Bunker Hill School, where his sister, Emma was already working. The job paid for his later college expenses.

He initially attended The College of Wooster and later enrolled at The Ohio State University, from where he dropped out due to problems with eyesight. He took up a job as a foreman of a telephone line crew.

The abrupt ending of his studies due to eye problems, initially took a toll on him, making him depressed. However, he decided to utilise his electrical engineering skills practically.

After his eye problems reduced, he went back to The Ohio State University and continued his education. In 1904, he graduated with a degree in electrical engineering.

Career

In 1904, immediately after graduation he was employed at the research laboratory at the National Cash Register. During his five year tenure, he obtained 23 patents for the company.

In 1907, he was advised by his colleague, Edward A. Deeds to work on automobile improvements, stressing on the market for the same. They worked with other engineers on the project and were soon known as, ‘Barn Gang'.

In 1909, he resigned from his job at the National Cash Register and continued to work full-time on automobile improvements and developments. The ‘Barn Gang' registered themselves as Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company, or Delco.

In 1911, he invented and filed a patent for the world’s first electric starter. The following year, the models for the product were approved and installed by The General Motors Company, Cadillac, for production.

In 1914, he helped in the creation of The Flxible Co. He was appointed as the president of the company and also became a member of the board of directors. Since the company was in its initial stages, he even provided funding for the same.

In 1915, he was working on an invention called the Delco-Light, which provided electric illumination to rural residents. This was one of his most widely known inventions.

In 1918, Delco was acquired by the United Motors Company. This laid the building blocks for the creation of the General Motors Research Corporation and Delco Electronics.

In 1918, he invented the aerial torpedo, also known as the Kettering Bug. This was regarded as one of the first aerial missiles, which laid the stepping stone for the first guided missiles.

In 1920, he was appointed as the vice president of General Motors Research Corporation, a position he continued to serve for the next 27 years. Over the next few years he worked on air-cooled engines for cars and trucks.

He gave the idea for duco paint, developed diesel engines and methods to harness solar energy and ethyl gasoline. He also introduced the concept of using magnetism for medical diagnostics.

In 1927, he established the Kettering Foundation, a research foundation which encourages the process of scientific research and invention. It provides opportunities for research fellows.

By 1945, his inventions earned him a lot of wealth. After two years, he retired from General Motors. However, he continued to serve as a research adviser and director in Dayton.

Major Works

The Delco ignition system, which he invented, was one of the first electric starters. This is also referred to as the Kettering ignition system, first sold in 1910.

Awards & Achievements

In 1936, he received the Franklin Medal.

Personal Life & Legacy

He suffered from headaches during his school days, which was due to poor eyesight.

In 1905, he married Olive Williams. The couple had one child together.

In 1914, his house, 'Ridgeleigh Terrace' was constructed. It is believed that this was one of the first houses in America to have air conditioning.

In 1914, along with Colonel Edward A. Deeds he co-founded the Engineers Club of Dayton, which was later listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

He died at the age of 82 in Dayton, Ohio. He was laid to rest at the Woodland Cemetery, Dayton.

In 1998, in his honour the GMI Engineering and Management Institute was renamed Kettering University.

His legacy continues to live with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, which he helped found and the Kettering Health Network. Many schools and educational intuitions in the U.S. are named after him.

Trivia

This great inventor is credited with the discovery of ‘Bug’ aerial torpedo, which is considered the world's first aerial missile.

// Famous Inventors

Charles F. Kettering awards

YearNameAward

Other

The ASME Medal
1936Franklin Medal
Hoover Medal
John Fritz Medal
Edison Medal

Charles F. Kettering biography timelines

  • // 29th Aug 1876
    Charles F. Kettering was born in Loudonville, Ohio, U.S.A as the fourth son of Jacob Kettering and Martha Hunter Kettering.
  • // 1904
    After his eye problems reduced, he went back to The Ohio State University and continued his education. In 1904, he graduated with a degree in electrical engineering.
  • // 1904
    In 1904, immediately after graduation he was employed at the research laboratory at the National Cash Register. During his five year tenure, he obtained 23 patents for the company.
  • // 1905
    In 1905, he married Olive Williams. The couple had one child together.
  • // 1907
    In 1907, he was advised by his colleague, Edward A. Deeds to work on automobile improvements, stressing on the market for the same. They worked with other engineers on the project and were soon known as, ‘Barn Gang'.
  • // 1909
    In 1909, he resigned from his job at the National Cash Register and continued to work full-time on automobile improvements and developments. The ‘Barn Gang' registered themselves as Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company, or Delco.
  • // 1910
    The Delco ignition system, which he invented, was one of the first electric starters. This is also referred to as the Kettering ignition system, first sold in 1910.
  • // 1911 To 1912
    In 1911, he invented and filed a patent for the world’s first electric starter. The following year, the models for the product were approved and installed by The General Motors Company, Cadillac, for production.
  • // 1914
    In 1914, he helped in the creation of The Flxible Co. He was appointed as the president of the company and also became a member of the board of directors. Since the company was in its initial stages, he even provided funding for the same.
  • // 1914
    In 1914, his house, 'Ridgeleigh Terrace' was constructed. It is believed that this was one of the first houses in America to have air conditioning.
  • // 1914
    In 1914, along with Colonel Edward A. Deeds he co-founded the Engineers Club of Dayton, which was later listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • // 1915
    In 1915, he was working on an invention called the Delco-Light, which provided electric illumination to rural residents. This was one of his most widely known inventions.
  • // 1918
    In 1918, Delco was acquired by the United Motors Company. This laid the building blocks for the creation of the General Motors Research Corporation and Delco Electronics.
  • // 1918
    In 1918, he invented the aerial torpedo, also known as the Kettering Bug. This was regarded as one of the first aerial missiles, which laid the stepping stone for the first guided missiles.
  • // 1920
    In 1920, he was appointed as the vice president of General Motors Research Corporation, a position he continued to serve for the next 27 years. Over the next few years he worked on air-cooled engines for cars and trucks.
  • // 1927
    In 1927, he established the Kettering Foundation, a research foundation which encourages the process of scientific research and invention. It provides opportunities for research fellows.
  • // 1936
    In 1936, he received the Franklin Medal.
  • // 1945
    By 1945, his inventions earned him a lot of wealth. After two years, he retired from General Motors. However, he continued to serve as a research adviser and director in Dayton.
  • // 25th Nov 1958
    He died at the age of 82 in Dayton, Ohio. He was laid to rest at the Woodland Cemetery, Dayton.
  • // 1998
    In 1998, in his honour the GMI Engineering and Management Institute was renamed Kettering University.

// Famous Alumni of Ohio State University

Charles F. Kettering's FAQ

  • What is Charles F. Kettering birthday?

    Charles F. Kettering was born at 1876-08-29

  • When was Charles F. Kettering died?

    Charles F. Kettering was died at 1958-11-25

  • Where was Charles F. Kettering died?

    Charles F. Kettering was died in Dayton, Ohio

  • Which age was Charles F. Kettering died?

    Charles F. Kettering was died at age 82

  • Where is Charles F. Kettering's birth place?

    Charles F. Kettering was born in Loudonville, Ohio

  • What is Charles F. Kettering nationalities?

    Charles F. Kettering's nationalities is American

  • Who is Charles F. Kettering spouses?

    Charles F. Kettering's spouses is Olive Williams

  • Who is Charles F. Kettering childrens?

    Charles F. Kettering's childrens is Eugene Kettering

  • What was Charles F. Kettering universities?

    Charles F. Kettering studied at Ohio State University, Ohio State University, The College of Wooster

  • What was Charles F. Kettering notable alumnis?

    Charles F. Kettering's notable alumnis is Ohio State University

  • Which company or organization was founded by Charles F. Kettering?

    Charles F. Kettering was the founder/co-founder of Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (Delco)

  • What is Charles F. Kettering's inventions/discoveries?

    Freon Refrigerant was invented (or discovered) by Charles F. Kettering

  • Who is Charles F. Kettering's father?

    Charles F. Kettering's father is Jacob Kettering

  • Who is Charles F. Kettering's mother?

    Charles F. Kettering's mother is Martha Hunter Kettering

  • What is Charles F. Kettering's sun sign?

    Charles F. Kettering is Virgo

  • How famous is Charles F. Kettering?

    Charles F. Kettering is famouse as Inventor, Engineer & Businessman