This 1912 Cadillac was acquired by the Cadillac-LaSalle Club Museum and Research Center in original condition. The 1912 Cadillac marked a significant milestone in automotive development when it became the first car to replace the hand crank with an electric starter in a production car. It revolutionized the automotive industry by making motor travel more accessible to women and men by avoiding the risk of injury from crank starting the engine.
This Delco system, developed by visionary engineer Charles Kettering, was not the first electric starter, but it was much smaller and simpler than previous efforts and thus more practical. From his work at the National Cash Register Company, Kettering understood that an electric motor could be severely overloaded, if it was used only intermittently. The 1912 Cadillac system used four six-volt batteries connected in series for 24-volt starting, while lighting and accessories ran at six volts. The 1912 Cadillac also used electrical systems for ignition and lighting, avoiding the use of gas- and oil-fueled lighting. For these innovations, Cadillac was awarded the Dewar Trophy by the Royal Automobile Club of the United Kingdom.