Lee Hunter developed the “Kwikurent” device that permitted the rapid charging of a car battery without removing the battery from the car. Hunter also invented a revolutionary machine that allowed the balancing of car wheels while they were still in motion. These inventions led him to found Hunter Engineering in 1946, which grew into a national leader in the development and production of automotive repair equipment.
Born in St. Louis, MO in 1913, Hunter attended Westminster College and Washington University in St. Louis before serving in the U.S. Army during WWII. In 1936, while Hunter was establishing himself as a highly skilled engineer, it was common belief that it was impossible to charge a car battery while it remained in the car. Hunter developed a device he called “Kwikurent” and changed the course of automotive history. Hunter’s attention to detail and his drive for perfection then led to the development of wheel alignment and balancing technologies that revolutionized the repair and maintenance of wheels and tires.
An inventive genius, Hunter held hundreds of patents and published papers on a variety of engineering topics. In 1955, he invented a wheel-alignment system called “Lite-A-Line” which became standard in the industry. In 1966, Hunter’s “Tune-Align” became the first mechanical alignment system capable of compensating for wheel run-out, a major factor in wheel alignment precision. Although Hunter and his company were highly successful, his friend William Danforth observed that making money was not Hunter’s objective. Rather, his goal was to do what others could not do and be productive.