OF PROGRESS WAS BRAINCHILD OF
The Parade of Progress
was the brainchild of Charles F. Kettering who was inspired by GM's
popular Science and Technology Exhibit at the 1933-34
Chicago World’s Fair. Kettering convinced GM board chairman Alfred
P. Sloan, Jr. and public relations vice president Paul Garrett to take
these educational exhibits on the road.
Charles Franklin Kettering
was born August 29, 1876 - Died November 25, 1958. He invented the first
electrical ignition system and the self-starter for automobile engines
and the first practical engine-driven generator. Born in an Ohio
farmhouse, Kettering graduated from Ohio State University in 1904 as an
engineer then joined the National Cash Register Company, where he
oversaw development of the electrically operated cash register, among
other products. In 1909 he left NCR and, with businessman Edward A.
Deeds, set up the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company or Delco,
where he invented his most significant engine devices. Kettering's
engine-driven generator, named the 'Delco,' provided electricity on
millions of farms. In 1916 Kettering sold his company to General Motors.
At G.M. he set up and directed a central research laboratory and stayed
for 31 years, until his retirement in 1947. The lab developed the
lightweight diesel engine that made the diesel locomotive possible, the
refrigerant Freon, four-wheel brakes, safety glass, and many other
items. Kettering was the holder of some 140 patents. Along with G.M.
President Alfred Sloan, he established the Sloan-Kettering Institute for
Charles F. Kettering was a
"screwdriver and pliers" inventor who, even today, continues
to impact all aspects of our society. The world-recognized Delco
Products Division of General Motors Corporation was first created by
Charles Kettering and Edward Deeds. At his death in 1958, Kettering was
a co-holder of more than 140 patents and possessed honorary doctorates
from nearly 30 universities. Kettering believed strongly in the
combination of hard work, ingenuity and technology to make the world a
Listening to a presentation inside the Aer-O-Dome
are C.F. Kettering (left), Dayton, Ohio Mayor Lois Lohrey and Paul
Garrett, General Motors vice president in charge of public relations.