1882: The Birth of a Leading Entrepreneur in the Automotive and Aviation Industries

August 12, 1882

Vincent Hugo Bendix, an inventor who became a pioneer in both the automotive and aviation industries, was born in Moline, Illinois. His first major effort in the transportation world involved establishing the short-lived Bendix Company of Chicago in 1907 and creating an automobile called the Bendix Buggy. 

In 1910, he invented the Bendix drive. This device was instrumental in making the electric self-starter a reality, using a gear to engage with the engine at low rotational speed and then fly back to disengage automatically at higher speed. Bendix also came up with the first four-wheel brake system for automobiles. 

Bendix’s activities in airborne transportation took flight in 1929, when he started developing aviation systems via the Bendix Aviation Corporation (later renamed the Bendix Corporation). He started Bendix Helicopters, Inc., in 1942. During World War II, Bendix’s enterprises became the primary source of American aviation electronics. He died towards the end of that global conflict in 1945 at the age of 62. Bendix was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1984 and the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1991.

Photo Credit: St. Joseph County Public Library in Indiana (http://www2.sjcpl.org/db/historydb/recorddetail/rec/601)

For more information on Vincent Hugo Bendix, please check out https://www.automotivehalloffame.org/honoree/vincent-bendix/ and https://www.nationalaviation.org/our-enshrinees/bendix-vincent/

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