Automotive electronics pioneer Elmer H. Wavering is a native of Quincy, Ill. An early executive of Motorola Inc., he helped develop the first car radio and was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1989. He also was co-inventor of the automotive alternator and the 8-track tape cartridge player.

Music on wheels
Different accounts have been offered over the years to explain how and why Paul Galvin decided in the dark days of a national economic ctrisis to test the durability of America's budding love affair with automobiles and radios. A major depression would not appear to be the textbook perfect moment to market an untested, unknown, luxury item. Paul Galvin, however, would not be easily deterred. The most delightful rendition of Galvin's venture into car radio comes from Elmer Wavering, retired Motorola president, who credits romance with inspiring the invention that launched a corporation. It seems that Wavering and his friend and sometimes partner, Bill Lear, enjoyed treating their sweethearts to the panoramic views of their hometown, Quincy, IL. Wavering reminisces: "Quincy is located in western Illinois, on a high bluff. There were scenic spots with parking areas. So we could watch the sun set over the flatlands of Missouri. The girls suggested it would be wonderful to have music in the car....We said we thought we could do it and we went to work on it." The main challenge was to eliminate the assorted sources of interference from the car's engine and electrical system that threatened to drown out the music. By fooling around with various ways to shield key elements like the antenna lead, Wavering managed to eliminate all the incoming noise to the set...The radio-on- wheels was born.... The idea languished until Lear ran across Paul Galvin at a radio convention in 1929 and told him about Wavering's success. Wavering recalls Galvin's response: "Paul said, 'Well, we'll give it a try, Bill. Get hold of your buddy in Quincy. Get him to come up here and the two of you put a complete radio together in our little machine shop and install it in my Studebaker sedan. I'll drive around the Chicago area and see if it will do everything you claim it will.' Bill called me and I took a leave of absence from Wave-Rite Radio Service, my company, and went up to Chicago. Bill and I put a complete radio into his car." Galvin was impressed. Soon he, wife Lillian and eight-year-old son Bob were bouncing along the country's rough-hewn highways in the Studebaker to reach Atlantic City (NJ) in time for the 1930 convention of the Radio Manufacturers Association. Unable to afford a booth at the show, the Galvin parked their musical novelty at the entrance to the pier. Thanks to a speaker that Wavering had installed under the hood, Galvin could crank up the radio to be heard by convention-goers as they walked from their cars to the meeting hall. Lillian Galvin took down the names and addresses of interested dealers and distributors. In no time, orders started rolling in for the new radio---soon dubbed "Motorola" by Paul Galvin---and Galvin Manufacturing was off and running again.