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by Charles Otterbein Adams


The second Barn Gang was started as a luncheon group of Dayton Engineers Club members in 1992. The name is a throwback to the Barn Gang of Charles F. Kettering and Col. Edward A. Deeds, who, with a group of others, electrified the ignition system of gasoline engines and invented the electric starter for these engines, in Col. Deeds barn on Central Avenue in Dayton, about 1910. It was started by Tom Sheetz, retired protocol officer from WPAFB., Wilson Charbonneaux, retired president of several successive manufacturing companies, Chuck Dempsey, retired WWII B24 bomber pilot and member of the Medical Research Laboratory of WPAFB. They were joined by Ken Zahrt, retired future planning engineer from WPAFB and Bob Overman, retired engineer from General Motors, Inland Division. Bob had developed the airbag for automobiles, with some others. I joined this Barn Gang, having been given the Deeds-Kettering award and having led the Electric Car Symposiums held at the Engineers Club. The groups luncheons started at 11.00 a.m., with soup and sandwiches, and a technical talk at 12:00 noon.


Note: The Barn Gang continues to meet weekly at the Engineers Club of Dayton every Tuesday at  11:00 AM. For more information please go to the Engineers Club website at

The Second Barn Gang