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Charles F. Kettering: Science of Automotive Engineering, 1936

Bright Idea

During this time Kettering was also occupied with an idea arising from his upbringing and first job—the supply of electricity to rural American areas that the wire supply grid did not reach. The resulting Delco Light Generator revolutionized rural life, providing a powerful light source that extended the day and a motor-driven source of machine power. The generator consisted of lead-acid storage batteries which were charged and recharged from a gasoline engine equipped with an electric starter switch.

Kettering and Deeds sold the flourishing Delco business to General Motors in 1916 and in the same year founded the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company with H. E. Talbott and enlisted Orville Wright as their aeronautical consultant. The company supplied airplanes and engines during World War I and was eventually acquired by General Motors.