1952 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"My biggest job was to inspire men to think and give them courage to fight against obstacles."
Charles Kettering was born on a farm in Loudonville, Ohio, in 1876. He worked as a lineman and a teacher to finance his education, which was twice interrupted by poor eyesight. Refusing to accept defeat, he continued, earning an electrical engineering degree from Ohio State University in 1904. As a researcher for the automotive industry, Kettering held more than 300 patents. Among his many inventions, his electric ignition did away with crank starts for cars. Some of his other inventions included the spark plug, Freon for refrigerators and air conditioners, leaded gasoline, safety glass, the automatic transmission, and quick-drying paint for cars. He sold his engineering laboratory to General Motors, where he headed research for 27 years. In 1940, Kettering joined Alfred P. Sloan to establish the Sloan-Kettering Institute, which has since become one of the nation's premier biomedical research institutions.* Deceased