|DID – U – KNOW
by Facia Nearside
Although blind from the age of five, Ralph Teetor graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1912. He became a prolific inventor, using his increased sensitivities of touch and hearing as gifts to resolve difficult mechanical design problems. During a 30-year career with the Perfect Circle Piston Ring Company, Teetor rose to become its president, as well as being elected president of the Society of Automotive Engineers in 1936.
One day while riding with his lawyer, Teetor became very annoyed as the driver would slow down while talking then speed up while listening. Determined to develop a device to eliminate this unpleasant rocking motion, he eventually patented the “speedostat” in 1953. Built by Perfect Circle the device was not used commercially until Chrysler installed it on their Imperial and New Yorker models in 1958. Today Teetor’s speedostat is found on all but the most basic automobiles, and has become a luxury which is taken for granted. We simply call it “cruise control”.
|Reprinted from British Boots & Bonnets Chronicle—February 2017 issue.