Inventor, Bill Lear
May 1st, 2013
The Lear organization was founded in Chicago in 1930 to produce the first practical automobile radio and other radio equipment Bill Lear had invented.
The Lear organization was founded in Chicago in 1930 to produce the first practical automobile radio, and other radio equipment Bill Lear had invented. It was not until 1934 that Lear settled the bulk of his production in Grand Rapids. In 1943 a branch plant was established here. When Lear was looking for a new home for his headquarters, Thomas Walsh, our airport manager, made a sales pitch for Grand Rapids. Lear was convinced and made the move.
Lear invented a number of radio aids to flight navigation. In 1940 he received the Frank M. Hawks Memorial Award for outstanding contribution in that field. His devices were noted for their simplicity of operation, and pilots prized his 1951 models for their reliability and ease of use.
The company expanded rapidly during World War II, and gained valuable knowledge in making precision electronic equipment for aircraft. When the war ended it put that know-how into peacetime products.
Some of Lear’s accomplishments include: designing the first practical car radio, which was sold to Motorola in 1929; the first dynamic speaker for low-priced home radios; the first manufacturing of two-way radios for private airplanes; the first automatic station selector for radios, and of course his many innovative aircraft systems.
In 1941 Bill Lear’s rate of filing new patent applications exceeded that of Thomas Edison at the height of his career.
|Inventor, Bill Lear
|WYCE; radio; history; Grand Rapids; Historical Commission; Bill Lear; flight navigation; WWII
|May 1st, 2013