Charles Franklin Kettering

Is your surname Kettering?

Research the Kettering family

Charles Franklin Kettering's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Charles Franklin Kettering

Birthplace: Loudonville, Ashland, OH, United States
Death: November 25, 1958 (82)
Dayton, Montgomery, OH, United States
Place of Burial: Dayton, Montgomery, OH, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Jacob Kettering and Martha Kettering
Husband of Olive F. Kettering
Father of Eugene Williams Kettering
Brother of David Kettering; Emma Kettering; Adam Isaac Kettering and Daisy E. Kettenring

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Charles Franklin Kettering

Charles Franklin Kettering August 29, 1876 Loudonville, Ohio-November 25, 1958 Dayton, Ohio

Parents: Jacob Kettering b.1841 and Martha Hunter b. June 1845

Wife: Olive Williams

Son: Eugene Williams Kettering

Born in an Ohio farmhouse, as an engineer he set up the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company where he invented his most significant engine devices. He is most noted for inventing the first electrical ignition system and the self-starter for automobile engines and the first practical engine-driven generator. Kettering's engine-driven generator, named the 'Delco,' provided electricity on millions of farms. In 1916, he sold his company to General Motors.

In 1998, GMI Engineering and Management Institute (formerly General Motors Institute), of Flint, Michigan, changed its name to Kettering University in honor of Kettering. His ideals, prowess, and belief in co-operative education continue there. Kettering is also remembered through the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, a cancer research and treatment center in New York City, and through the Kettering Health Network, which includes several hospitals and medical center campuses as well as Kettering College in Kettering, Ohio.

The city of Kettering, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton, was named after him when it was incorporated in 1955. The former U.S. Army Air Service testing field, McCook Field, is now a Dayton park called Kettering Field. Several U.S. public schools are named after him. The Kettering Science center on the Ashland University campus in Ohio is named for him. Kettering Hall at Wilmington College is named for him.


Charles Franklin Kettering (August 29, 1876 – November 25, 1958) sometimes known as Charles "Boss" Kettering was an American inventor, engineer, businessman, and the holder of 186 patents. He was a founder of Delco, and was head of research at General Motors from 1920 to 1947. Among his most widely used automotive developments were the electrical starting motor and leaded gasoline. In association with the DuPont Chemical Company, he was also responsible for the invention of Freon refrigerant for refrigeration and air conditioning systems. At DuPont he also was responsible for the development of Duco lacquers and enamels, the first practical colored paints for mass-produced automobiles. While working with the Dayton-Wright Company he developed the "Bug" aerial torpedo, considered the world's first aerial missile. He led the advancement of practical, lightweight two-stroke diesel engines, revolutionizing the locomotive and heavy equipment industries. In 1927, he founded the Kettering Foundation, a non-partisan research foundation. He was featured on the cover of Time magazine on January 9, 1933.



view all

Charles Franklin Kettering's Timeline

August 29, 1876
Loudonville, Ashland, OH, United States
November 25, 1958
Age 82
Dayton, Montgomery, OH, United States
Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Montgomery, OH, United States