Cadillac's Electric Self Starter Turns 100
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| With the turn of a key or push of a button, starting a car today is taken for granted. But a century ago, the electric starter that debuted in the 1912 Cadillac Touring Edition helped establish Cadillac's reputation as a test bed of technology and innovation.
Before the electric starter, it took a hand crank, a lot of muscle, and a bit of hope to start driving.
'Hand cranking was the No. 1 injury risk in those early days of the automobile,' said Greg Wallace, director of the General Motors Heritage Center, referring to the kickback on a crank handle that could break an arm, or worse.
As cars grew larger and purposeful, so did the engines and effort required to start them. It was so difficult, in fact, that it gave rise to the term 'cranky,' which often described someone's mood after struggling to start a car.