Happy Sunday! Welcome to Holy Shift, where we highlight big innovations in the auto and racing industries each week—whether they be necessary or simply for comfort.
It was just another day on the road in the 1940s, as engineer Ralph Teetor sat in the passenger seat alongside his patent attorney. As they conversed, Teetor couldn’t help but notice that his driver would speed up and slow down while talking. He wanted that little annoyance fixed.
So, as any capable engineer would, he fixed it. In 1950, Teetor secured the first patent for a cruise-control device.
Perhaps what is almost as interesting as Teetor’s invention is the fact that he visualized its blueprint mentally—any sketches, he couldn’t see. Teetor lost his eyesight at 5 years old, but that didn’t stop him from impressing others at an early age. His tool skills were so advanced by age 10 that his father built him a workshop, and Teetor later helped build and install basketball goals at school.