Who invented the electric self-starter for the car?
My new car has a push-button ignition, and while it’s convenient I do miss the classic key ignition feeling. I’m curious when was the key ignition invented and who invented the electric self-starter for the car?
Answer provided by
There’s nothing like turning the key and feeling the rumble of the engine. Charles Franklin Kettering, an American engineer and research director at General Motors, invented the electric self-starter—or the ignition—in 1912.
The first car it was used on was the 1912 Cadillac, and the operating system was patented in 1915. Kettering’s system involved a key-operated spark plug ignition starting system to replace the iron hand cranks that were used to start up vehicles.
The iron cranks were difficult and much more dangerous to operate. (Especially in comparison to the button start in modern vehicles today!) Kettering’s invention not only simplified the process of starting the car for male drivers but allowed women to drive vehicles as well.
Kettering was known for many other great inventions including the incubator, and the electric cash register, and is the holder of 186 patents.
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