“You can’t have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time.” – Charles F Kettering
About Charles F Kettering
Charles Franklin Kettering (August 29, 1876 – November 24 or 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 at General Motors from 1920 to 1947. Among his most widely used automotive developments 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. At DuPont he also was responsible for the development of Duco lacquers 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. He was on the cover of Time Magazine on January 9, 1933.
In 1998, GMI Engineering and Management Institute (formerly General Motors Institute), of Flint, Michigan, changed its name to Kettering University in honor of Kettering. His ideals, prowess, and belief in co-operative education continue there. Kettering is also remembered through the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, a cancer research and treatment center in New York City, and through the Kettering Health Network, which includes several hospitals and medical center campuses as well as Kettering College in Kettering, Ohio.
The city of Kettering, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton, was named after him when it was incorporated in 1955.
The former U.S. Army Air Service testing field, McCook Field, is now a Dayton park called Kettering Field. Several U.S. public schools are named after him.
Charles was born in Loudonville, Ohio, United States, the fourth of five children of Jacob Kettering and Martha Hunter Kettering. Poor eyesight gave him headaches in school. After graduation he followed his sister Emma into a teaching position at Bunker Hill School. By all accounts he was an engaging and innovative teacher. He attracted students to evening scientific demonstrations on electricity, heat, magnetism, and gravity.
He took classes at The College of Wooster, before transferring to The Ohio State University. He was a member of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity. Eye problems forced him to withdraw, and he took a job as foreman of a telephone line crew. At first, the termination of his studies caused him to be depressed. Then he found ways to apply his electrical engineering skills on the job, and his spirits revived. He also met his future wife, Olive Williams. When his eye condition improved, he was able to return to his studies and graduated from OSU in 1904 with an electrical engineering degree.
Max D. Liston, one of Kettering’s co-workers at GM, described him “one of the gods of the automotive field, particularly from an inventive standpoint.” Liston quoted Kettering as advising him, “People won’t ever remember how many failures you’ve had, but they will remember how well it worked the last time you tried it.”
His inventions, especially the electric automobile starter, made him wealthy. In 1945, he helped found what became the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, based on the premise that American industrial research techniques could be applied to cancer research.
He died on November 25, 1958.
(Source – Wikipedia)