Born in Cincinnati, Ohio on September 18, 1886, Crosley built his first car when he was just 13. His lawyer father bet him $10 that his build couldn’t make it a block, so the young boy convinced his brother, Lewis, to invest in the construction of an electric motor (which Crosley designed), and they won.
Crosley graduated from the Ohio Military Institute in 1905. He spent two years at the University of Cincinnati before dropping out to build an inexpensive car, the Marathon 6. Unable to secure adequate funding, the project failed and Crosley went to work at various auto companies.
The brand name Crosley is primarily associated with radios, but behind that vintage sound is a wealth of other product lines, many of which changed their industries. From automobiles, to the first refrigerator with shelves on the door, inventor Powel Crosley Jr’s life was filled with both failures and triumphs, along with many firsts.
According to his brother, Crosley was desperate to get into auto manufacturing, and happened upon his first fortune as a result of writing copy for a client in the rubber business during the mid-1910s. At the time, car tires were made of fabric encased in rubber, and the lifespan was only about 3,000 miles. Crosley created a special reliner he called “inside tires” (also referenced as “insyde tires”) and sold them via mail order. When the cord tire was introduced, which increased tire lifespan up to 15,000 miles, Crosley sought out other business ventures.