Charles Franklin Kettering
Charles Franklin Kettering (August 29, 1876 – November 24 or November 25, 1958) was an American inventor, engineer, businessman, and the holder of 186 patents.He was a founder of Delco, and was head of research atGeneral Motors from 1920 to 1947. Among his most widely used automotive inventions were the electrical starting motor and leaded gasoline.In association with the DuPont Chemical Company, he was also responsible for the invention of Freon refrigerant for refrigeration and air conditioning systems, as well as for the development of Ducolacquers and enamels, the first practical colored paints for mass- produced automobiles. While working with the Dayton-Wright Company he developed the "Bug" aerial torpedo, considered the world's first aerial missile.He led the advancement of practical, lightweight two-stroke diesel engines, revolutionizing the locomotive and heavy equipment industries. In 1927, he founded the Kettering Foundation, a non-partisan research foundation
Charles Franklin Kettering: behind the scene
Engineer and inventor Charles F. Kettering had difficulty with school, dropping out of college due to poor eyesight, and worked for several years digging post holes for an Ohio telephone company. After obtaining an engineering degree he worked for National Cash Register Co., where he redesigned and electrified the company's product line. Then, having heard that engineers at Cadillac were frustrated by their vehicles' rather unreliable hand-crank ignition system, Kettering and NCR co-worker Edward A. Deeds (1874-1960) founded the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (Delco, now AC Delco) in 1909. Working out of his home and later his barn, Kettering developed the first electronic ignition system for automobiles, perfected in 1911 and promptly licensed to Cadillac, which introduced it in that company's 1912 models.
In 1916, Kettering invented what became known as the Delco-Light electric plant, a freestanding electric power system that generated power for "flameless lighting", running water, and other industrial applications. In the same year, Kettering and Deeds sold their interest in the company to United Motors Company, which was later absorbed into General Motors. Kettering was later involved with Orville and Wilbur Wright's Dayton-Wright Aeroplane Company, but he spent most of his career with GM, where acquaintances and co-workers called him "Boss Ket."
With more than 100 patents, Kettering's most noteworthy work at GM included the development of "Ethyl" no-knock leaded gasoline, high-compression auto engines, quick drying enamel paint, synthetic aviation fuel, and Freon, the stable and non-toxic refrigerant. His laboratory also made major improvements to automatic transmissions, lightweight diesel engines for railway use, safety glass, shock absorbers, and vehicle braking systems.
He was a driving force in establishment of the Flint Institute of Technology in 1919 and the General Motors Institute in 1926, and with his friend and colleague, GM president Alfred P. Sloan, he established the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in 1945. In 1998, forty years after his death, the General Motors Institute was renamed Kettering University in his honor.