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Robert William Kearns (1927 - 2005)

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Dr. Robert William "Bob" Kearns
Born in Gary, Lake, Indiana, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Brother of
Husband of [private wife (1930s - 2010s)]
Father of [private son (1950s - unknown)] and [private daughter (1960s - unknown)]
Died in Baltimore, Maryland, United Statesmap [uncertain]
Profile manager: Tracy Hope private message [send private message]
Profile last modified 5 Jun 2019 | Created 2 Apr 2009
This page has been accessed 5,897 times.


Robert grew up by Detroit near the auto factories and was the inventor of the intermittent windshield wipers using an electric motor developed in the 1960s. His patent was filed in 1964.

When he presented his idea to the big automakers, they were not interested. However, by 1969, the intermittent windshield wiper was appearing on new models, starting with Ford.

Robert spent most of his life after 1969 suing automakers for patent infringement. He felt he deserved the credit and to be the sole manufacturer of this auto advancement.

His story is told in the 2008 movie Flash of Genius.


  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 04 June 2019), memorial page for Dr Robert William Kearns (10 Mar 1927–9 Feb 2005), Find A Grave: Memorial #10527866, citing Mount Kelly Cemetery, Dearborn, Wayne County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .

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Categories: Michigan, Inventors | Automotive History | Mount Kelly Cemetery, Dearborn, Michigan