Charles Otterbein Adams has lived Dayton history all his long life. Locally famous
as one of the “Flood Twins” — survivors of the 1913 Dayton flood — Charlie encountered
Dayton greats like Charles Kettering, and became an innovator in his own right. A
member of the Engineers Club of Dayton since 1937, Charlie Adams is its oldest living
A method to prefabricate transportable folding metal mats for reinforcing concrete
highway, floors, buildings, bridges, etc. 1966, Charles O. Adams
Charlie Adams recalls electric cars in 1920’s Dayton, memories of the Barn Gang and
Delco, an airplane ride at Deeds Farm, and a lesson learned from Charles Kettering.
Photos include a 1919 Detroit electric car charging, and the Dayton-Wright OW-1
Aerial Coupe . Charlie Adams’ memory of the early electric cars lead to his lifelong
passion for electric vehicles. The OW-1 was the airplane in which Charlie rode around
Deeds’ Farm and Delco Dell as a child of 12. The OW-1 Aerial Coupe was the first
closed cabin aircraft in Dayton, and Orville Wright’s last design. Credits>>
“The boat capsized, throwing all of us into the cold, muddy water. Mother cried out
she was drowning, and lost her hold on me. Dad attempted to help Mother. In doing
this, he somehow lost his hold on Lois. She was washed, by herself, on down the rushing
floodwaters. Mother lost me, and we followed Lois down the flooded street. Dad spent
the whole night thinking that Mother, Lois, and I had been drowned in the turbulent,
“Here is a picture of John H. Patterson, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Edward A. Deeds,
Arthur Morgan, and Charles F Kettering, My early life was affected by all six.” Read
Charles Otterbein Adams has lived Dayton history all his long life. The many resources
on this website, many of them written by Charlie himself, give lively insights into
how he survived the 1913 Dayton flood, and encountered Dayton greats like Charles
Kettering and Edward Deeds. Charles Adams became an innovator himself, earning his
own patents and designing industrial production lines.
Electric vehicles were a reality of Charlie’s youth, and in retirement he helped
bring attention back to this promising technology. Well into his 80s, Charlie organized
a multi-year series of symposiums on Electric Cars and Alternate Fuel Vehicles in
the mid-90s. Included here is a 2001 presentation on Fuel Cells that Charlie gave
to the Engineers Club of Dayton, as well as his recollections of the work at Delco
during World War II.
At 98 years young in 2010, Charlie Adams continues to educate us about Dayton’s history
as he remembers it.