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Short Stories of Science and Invention

A Collection of Radio Talks by
Charles F. Kettering

INDEX

Weekly, from September 1942 to July 1945, Charles F. Kettering gave five-minute intermission talks about Science and Invention during the radio broadcasts of the General Motors Symphony of the Air.

Kettering invented the first automobile self-starter, and for 31 years directed a research laboratory for General Motors.

These radio talks are a fascinating legacy from the mind of a prolific inventor. The obvious anachronisms now add a historical perspective of the war-time period in which they were written.

These web pages now preserve some of the most popular stories for a new generation to read The text and art come from a General Motors booklet of selected talks. (Reprint, March 1959)

19. The Four Horsemen
A Radio Talk by Charles F. Kettering

    At midnight, tonight [January 31, 1944], we shall have passed through another critical year in American history and this would seem to be an appropriate time to go over our books and take stock of our position.

    We have behind us over three years of world-wide conflict. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ­War, Famine, Pestilence and Death - have ridden over the face of the earth leaving in their wake Misery and Despair.

Apocalypse

    Millions of lives and the production of other millions have been lost. All over the World peace­loving people labor earnestly to satisfy the demands of war. This accumulated toll of suffering and the loss of lives and property must be entered on the ledger as part of the price our generation has paid to save the World from tyranny and aggression. And the Four Horsemen still ride! But the picture is not as black as it was last year - or the year before when the books were audited. In fact we are able to recognize the first streaks of light that will herald the new day bringing with it Victory and Peace. Recently, I read an article in which the author said that Peace as well as conflict must have Four Horsemen. He named the horsemen of Peace as Hope, Good Sense, Experience and Science.


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