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Movies & Million-Dollar Mansions, Behind the Scenes at the "Flying A," & Silents on the Islands

"WAY BACK WHEN" WEDNESDAY - 100+ years ago this month

Image: 1915 car, courtesy of New York Public Library

Herbert Earlscliffe of Montecito was cranking the starter on his car in February 1914 when something went horribly wrong and he ended up with a broken arm.

Dana Newquist, local classic car collector, told me, "Most cars into the mid 30s had 'crank holes' at the base of the radiator shell for insertion of the crank. … The danger of the crank happens when a person is turning the engine over using the crank and the car 'backfires.' A backfire forces the engine to abruptly reverse direction. If your arm is turning the crank in a clockwise direction when a backfire occurs, the result is often a broken arm."

Ouch! If only Herbert had waited a year! In 1915, a Dayton, Ohio man named Charles Kettering received a patent for the electrical starter motor. He went on to become the founder of Delco. The name Delco comes from Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company. 

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