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June 15: Charles Kettering patented the starter motor on this date in 1911


One hundred and one years ago today -- June 15, 1911 -- Charles Kettering of Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (DELCO) applied for what would become U.S. Patent #1,150,523: the starter motor. Up to that time, cars with internal combustion engines had to be started using a hand crank, which -- aside from requiring serious muscle -- could kick back and seriously injure the operator. The following year, Cadillac became the first automaker to implement the invention, which effectively opened the car market up to women, who could now easily start their cars without the assistance of a man.