500 South Broad Street, Lanark.
Lanark Sesquicentennial Book Committee and the Illinois State Historical Society
On this site by Sept. 25, 1901, Charles Cotta created and built his invention of the world’s first four-wheel drive (U.S. Patent #652-949) and four-wheel independent steering automobile (U.S. Patent #8700-175). Cotta’s invention revolutionized the automotive industry, particularly heavy-duty vehicles, including military and precise aerospace machines. Cotta was born August 26, 1871, and raised four miles east of Lanark at Nursery, his father’s farm, business, and rural post office. He had no mechanical experience, prefabricated parts, or access to precision machinery. Yet even after his death on July 26, 1945, his vision led the Cotta Transmission Company to worldwide sales, outer space, and the future.
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