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Lee Hunter Edit Profile

inventor , company executive

Lee Hunter, American automotive equipment manufacturing company executive, inventor. Inventor 1st rapid battery chargers; dynamic lever theory balancing; 1st on car mechanical wheel balancer; 1st discharged battery analyzer; wheel alignment, automotive equipment, patentee. Recipient Alumni Achievement award Westminster College.

Background

Hunter, Lee was born on April 27, 1913 in St. Louis. Son of Lee and Ollie (Stark) Hunter.

Education

Student, Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri. Student, Washington University, St. Louis. D.Sci. (honorary), Washington University, St. Louis, 1982.

D.Sci. (honorary), Westminster College, 1982.

Career

His inventions include the "Kwikurent" device for the rapid charging of a car battery, and a machine to balance car wheels while they spin. He founded Hunter Engineering Company in 1946. For his "dramatic impact on the development of the automobile and the automotive industry" he was inducted posthumously into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan.

Lee Hunter, Jr., as a 23-year-old St. Louis architecture student, found himself frequently confronted with car battery failure in his Packard convertible automobile. In 1936, it took several days to recharge a car battery. Hunter sought to find a better, faster way to recharge batteries.

With the help of a former Washington University electrical engineering professor, Hunter began developing a new design. His "quickcharge" battery recharger was based on a diverter pole generator. He put this new product on the market and during the Great Depression, the Lee Hunter, Jr., Manufacturing Co. sold the $497 Kwikurent charger as fast as the company could make them.

After serving in both the U.S. Army Engineering Corps and Ordnance Corps during World War II, Hunter returned to St. Louis in 1946 and reopened his business under the name of Hunter Engineering. Lee Hunter also laid the foundation for a global distribution base for Hunter products. In 1955 Hunter developed a new wheel alignment system called 'Lite-A-Line,' which became the industry standard.

In 1962, Hunter's 'Tune-Align' became the first mechanical alignment system capable of compensating for wheel run-out, a major factor affecting wheel alignment precision. Nearly 50 years after Lee Hunter founded Hunter Engineering Company, he was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan. In this shrine of automotive history, Lee Hunter shares the spotlight with automotive industry giants like Henry Ford, Louis Chevrolet, Walter P. Chrysler and Soichiro Honda.

The Hall of Fame places Hunter among “individuals who have made a dramatic impact on the development of the automobile and the automotive industry”. He is buried at Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.

Achievements

  • Hunter Engineering continued to expand its export markets and in 1964 was named by the U.S. Department of Commerce as a winner of the E-Award for excellence in the development of export trade.

Membership

Trustee Washington University, St. Louis. Board directors Junior Achievement, West County Young Men’s Christian Association. Advisory trustee Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri.

Trustee Washington University, St. Louis. Member St. Louis Consular Corps. Served to 1st lieutenant C.E. Army of the United States, 1942-1946.

Member Missouri Chamber of Commerce, Phi Delta Theta. (Phi of Year, Missouri chapter 1980). Clubs: St. Louis (St. Louis), Engineers (St. Louis).

Bellerive Country, Racquet. Le Mirador (Switzerland).

Connections

Married Jane Franklin Brauer, 1959. Stepchildren: Arthur J. Brauer, Stephen F. Brauer.

father:
Lee Hunter

mother:
Ollie (Stark) Hunter

spouse:
Jane Franklin Brauer

child:
Arthur J. Brauer Hunter

child:
Stephen F. Brauer Hunter