Vincent Groby Apple

1/26/1874 – 9/24/1932

Inducted 1996


Vincent Groby Apple was a prolific inventor and businessman. In 1895 he developed the first dynamo used for ignition on internal combustion engines. He went on to originate the lighting and ignition systems used in cars, planes and boats through the 1930s. He invented what some believe to be the first electric self-starter, and also designed the flywheel magneto eventually used in Henry Ford’s Model T automobiles. In 1899 he was one of the original incorporators of the Dayton Electrical Manufacturing Company, which became a key supplier of engine parts for the Wright brothers. Vincent Apple continued to improve aspects of automobile starters, lighting and engines throughout his career: when he died in 1932 he owned 149 patents, had 42 patents pending, and was working on more than 250 inventions. He has more inventions to his credit than anyone else in Dayton. He was one of the first 100 to join the Engineers Club of Dayton, and counted among his friends Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.