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96 Years Ago: Laramie Legend Elmer Lovejoy Invents The Garage Door Opener

Ian Forsyth, Getty Images
Ian Forsyth, Getty Image

Next time you open your garage door, thank Elmer Lovejoy. 96 years ago, on May 17, 1921, the Laramie native patented a tracking system for automatic door openers.

It wasn’t the only important invention of Lovejoy’s legendary career. After opening a bicycle shop, Lovejoy built Wyoming’s first “horseless carriage” in 1898.

The story appeared the next day in the Laramie Boomerang, who wrote, ““there were two speeds in use on the machine yesterday, one of five and one of ten miles per hour. When the machine was on good hard places it acquired a speed of ten or twelve miles per hour.”

Lovejoy also created the “steering knuckle” to help navigate carriages and wagons . The technology is still used in automobiles to this day.

Unfortunately, Lovejoy was a better inventor than a businessman. He didn’t see much of a future for the steering knuckle and sold his idea to the Elliot Vehicle Company for $800.

Along with his inventions, Lovejoy’s legacy is alive and well in Laramie, where where the popular downtown hangout Elmer Lovejoy’s Bar and Grill is named in his honor.

The Remarkable Story of Elmer Lovejoy

 

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