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1954 Horatio Alger Award Winner

William P. Lear*

Lear, Inc.

"What you need is an idea."

William Lear was born in 1902 in Hannibal, Missouri. His formal education never went beyond eighth grade. He served in the Navy as a radio operator during World War I. In the 1920s, Lear and a partner, Elmer Wavering, invented the first practical car radio. He later sold his patents to the Galvin Corporation, which eventually became the Motorola Company. In 1930, Lear founded Lear Developments, which specialized in aerospace instruments and electronics. Lear invented the all-wave radio receiver, which RCA purchased, setting him on the road to success. He also invented the first working automobile radio, the Lear-o-scope, automatic direction finder, the F-5 auto pilot, and the first fully automatic aircraft landing system. In 1963, Lear manufactured the Lear Jet, the first mass-produced business jet.

* Deceased