Ralph R. Teetor

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Ralph  Teetor
  • Invented the Cruise Control device for application on motor vehicles
  • Advanced to President of the Perfect Circle Piston Ring Company during a distinguished 30-year career
  • Served the Society of Automotive Engineers as a member and, in 1936, was elected its President; served on the SAE War Engineering Board during World War I

Nothing -- not even blindness -- could diminish Ralph Teetor's talents.

When an accident left Teetor blind at age 5, he quickly learned to develop his mind and his sense of touch to achieve remarkable results in mechanics. Inspired by the story of Thomas Edison, Teetor began working with machinery and by age 13 had built an automobile capable of traveling 25 mph. He earned an engineering degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1912, then joined the family business, which eventually became the Perfect Circle Corporation, a major designer and manufacturer of piston rings.

Teetor's increased sensitivity of touch and hearing gave him an uncanny ability to diagnose and resolve mechanical design problems. He designed improved piston rings, and in 1922 patented a selective gear shift for motor vehicles which he sold to Bendix Corporation. He also developed Cruise Control in the 1940s, patenting it under the name Speedostat in 1953.

Teetor's contributions are testimony to his own belief and to the advice he gave to others who suffered an injury: Remember, you are not handicapped so long as you can think logically.

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