Elmer H. Wavering

Inducted 1989

In 1930, was instrumental in the development of the first commercially successful car radio for Motorola Played a key role in the growth of Motorola, Inc. and pioneered the development of the first transistorized car radio in the mid-1950s Invented the automotive alternator, which made many advances in automotive electronics possible, including air conditioning and the electronic ignition system. Elmer Wavering installed the first car radio on earth…and made car radios on the moon a reality. A youthful tinkerer, Wavering built his first radio in 1921, shortly after graduating from grade school. In 1924, while still in high school, Wavering and his friend Bill Lear installed the first radio in a car. Unable to resist his passion for electronics, Wavering left college to open a radio shop in Quincy, Illinois. A few months later, Lear recruited Wavering to work with Motorola founder Paul Galvin to develop the car radio. Their first commercial offering was introduced on September 1, 1930. Wavering continued with Motorola, which eventually created the radio for NASA’s Lunar Rover. Although he became known for his work in developing the car radio, Wavering himself considered his greatest achievement to be the alternator, which made it possible for motor vehicles to use an electric ignition and air conditioning. These and other innovations earned Wavering the title father of modern automotive electronics.

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