1916 -1947

Delco-Light Farm Electric Plant


2016 will mark the 100th anniversary of the introduction of Charles Kettering’s Delco-Light Plant. In sharing information to foster a better understanding of this great American story, we hope to encourage support for a National Centennial Celebration to honor Charles Kettering, Delco-Light, the welcome impact on farm life at the time, and the relevance of Kettering’s vision today in shaping and enhancing the future of electricity in our lives.

Information and Resources

I recently wrote a book on the history of electricity - “The Hybrid Electric Home”. I had a similar experience as Wayne with wind electric plants produced during the 1930’s and 40’s to work with and compete with Delco-Light and the other farm electric plants. I sought out, collected, restored, and operated wind generators for several decades and have a respectable collection of related documents myself. Ultimately in the 1980’s, I would work for Marcellus L. Jacobs the founder of the leading wind electric plant manufacturer of the period -The Jacobs Wind Electric Company. M. L. was a person of similar intensity and character to Kettering with a series of technical accomplishments with several products and disciplines in addition to his contributions in wind energy.

Although I was aware of the farm electric plant industry, I was seeking out more information for my book and was directed to Dr. Delco. After a few phone conversations, I drove down to meet and talk with Wayne. Given our parallel experiences, we had an immediate respect for each other and were amazed at the connectedness of our independent efforts over the years. A few weeks later, I received a huge box of documents from Wayne that held the balance of his remarkable Delco-Light document collection. I was stunned by the magnitude of the farm electric business. Wayne asked and I promised to make the information he has collected and compiled over a lifetime available to as many people as possible and to seek a safe long term repository for the documents. The complete Delco-Light historical document collection is too extensive to list.

In the coming months -  Significant documents and selected content will be scanned and added to this website in a downloadable pdf format. A few special items in the collection merit consideration for reprinting, including video and audio files, and I will seek ways to make this happen.

In the coming years - The 100th Anniversary of Kettering’s introduction of the Delco-Light in 1916 and the birth of the farm electric plant industry will be coming up in 2016. I think Charles Kettering and his Delco-Light Plant should be recognized for their contribution to and impact on American farm life with a National Centennial Celebration to both honor and apply his enduring ideas to modern needs. I will need help with this and am seeking others who share this interest to work with on this project.

In the meantime - Additional information on Delco-Light and Charles Kettering can be found at:

Wind Charger is a great site devoted to  the history of the farm and wind electric plant industry.

Delco-Light.com is a great site to learn about, share information, and find enthusiast support.

Gas Engine Magazine and its companion Farm Collector and Steam Traction share a great website for historical information on farming and farm equipment.

Smokstak.com is the Antique Gas, Steam, and Tractor Engine enthusiasts favorite site

Scharchburg Achives at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan, formerly General Motors Institute, is home to the historical collection of Charles F. Kettering

Dayton History is another good destination to learn more about Charles F. Kettering.

DLModelRef.pdf is a downloadable file with basic model information covering the years 1916 to 1934.

Contact Dr. Delco

If you are interested in learning more about Delco-Light and the wind and farm electric plant industry, have questions, ideas, or information to share, need information, have suggestions for improving this website, or want to help in the National Kettering Delco-light Centennial Celebration please send an email to doctordelco and share your ideas and thoughts or contact Craig @ 734 417 5500.

Hybrid Electric Home Store
“The Hybrid Electric Home - Clean, Efficient, Profitable” by Craig Toepfer 

A compelling book on the history of electricity in America with a special focus on the farm and wind electric plant industry from 1916 to 1947. The lessons of Charles Kettering’s genius is reintroduced for modern times and the centerpiece of the transition to a clean energy economy. Available for $24.99 plus $3.00 shipping at our sibling website - www.hybridelectrichome.com.

“The Delco-Light Original Brochure, Owners Manual, and Installation Instructions Set”

Enlarged reprints of the original promotional brochure, owners manual, and installation instructions for Charles Ketterings Delco-Light farm light plant that was introduced in 1916 and produced unchanged until 1926. The product that launched the entire farm and wind electric plant industry is described in great deal with stunning artwork, comprehensive owner instructions, and original advertising information on the inside covers. The Promotional Brochure is 16 pages, the Owners Information is 24 pages, and the Installation Instructions 32 pages. The set is available for $19.99 plus $3.00 shipping at our sibling website - www.hybridelectrichome.com.