Category: Inventors & Contributors

Charles Franklin Kettering: Invented the First Electrical Starter Motor Ignition System

The first electrical ignition system or electric starter motor for cars was invented by GM engineers Clyde Coleman and Charles Kettering. The self-starting ignition was first installed in a Cadillac on February 17, 1911. The invention of the electric starter motor by Kettering eliminated the need for hand cranking. United States Patent #1,150,523, was issued to Kettering in 1915.  Kettering founded...

Rudolf Diesel: Inventor of the Diesel Engine

The engine that bears his name set off a new chapter in the industrial revolution, but Rudolf Diesel initially thought his invention would help small businesses and artisans, not industrialists.  EARLY LIFE Rudolf Diesel was born in Paris in 1858. His parents were Bavarian immigrants, and the family was deported to England at the outbreak of the Franco-German war. Eventually, Rudolf...

John W. Lambert: built the first American automobile

John William Lambert was the third of ten children, born on January 29, 1860 to farming parents who had settled in Ohio before the Civil War after leaving Lost Mountain, Cambria County, Pennsylvania. The family farm of John’s birth was near Mechanicsburg, Ohio. There were aunts and uncles and cousins nearby. During the War, John’s father provided produce and leather...

Gottlieb Daimler: revolutionizing car design

In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler (together with his design partner Wilhelm Maybach) took Nicolaus Otto’s internal combustion engine a step further and patented what is generally recognized as the prototype of the modern gas engine. FIRST MOTORCYCLE Gottlieb Daimler’s connection to Nicolaus Otto was a direct one; Daimler worked as technical director of Deutz Gasmotorenfabrik, which Nicolaus Otto co-owned in 1872. There is...

Nicolaus Otto: Designer of the Gas Motor Engine

Despite a lack of technical training, Nikolaus August Otto (1832-1891) had the ingenuity to make the first practical internal combustion engine. He later devised the four-stroke engine, known as the Otto cycle, which was widely used for automobile and other motors. Nikolaus Otto was born in Holzhausen auf der Heide, a small village on the Rhine River in Germany. Although...

Karl Benz – the father of the car

German inventor Carl Benz (1844-1929) is one of the many individuals given credit for the creation of the first automobile. In 1885 he invented the motorized tricycle, which became the first “horseless carriage” to be driven by an internal combustion engine. Benz’s contributions to automotive design also included the creation of such features as a carburetor and an electrical ignition...

Henry Ford Changed the World

At the beginning of the 20th century the automobile was a plaything for the rich. Most models were complicated machines that required a chauffer conversant with its individual mechanical nuances to drive it. Henry Ford was determined to build a simple, reliable and affordable car; a car the average American worker could afford. Out of this determination came the Model...