Charles F. Kettering

1876 – 1958

Charles F. Kettering was an inventor, entrepreneur, visionary and humanitarian. He came to Dayton in 1904 to join NCR where his first task was to electrify the cash register. He partnered with Col. Edward Deeds to organize the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company, later known as DELCO. Kettering spearheaded the development of an auto ignition system and self-starter which revolutionized the auto industry. He later became head of General Motors Central Research Laboratories. “Boss” Kettering also developed a portable electrical generator, the first synthetic aviation gasoline, pilotless aircraft, baby incubators, and air conditioning. With Deeds, Charles Kettering established the Engineers Club of Dayton, envisioned as a place here thinkers could get together to solve practical problems. He was a noted philanthropist, establishing the Kettering Foundation, co-founding the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, and giving to many local institutions, including Antioch College. At the time of his death, Charles Kettering held more than 140 patents.