Veteran of the Month: Daniel Wisner


By Joyce Ervin

Daniel Wisner ended his military career with the rank of SP-3 after being drafted into the U.S. Army in early 1955. He was inducted at the historic Ft. Wayne in Detroit.
Before that day, he was a graduate of Hillsdale College where he earned a degree in Math and Physics. All this would prove to be instrumental in his life’s work.
Wisner served his basic training at Ft. Knox, Kentucky and then due to high enlistment rates, he was trained by an uncharted tank company supplying tanks to the personnel being trained at the Armor School.
Wisner explained, “So many boys enlisted before the January cut-off to be eligible for the G.I. Bill there were no basic training facilities available.”
After his unorthodox basic training, Wisner was trained in electronics/radio maintenance at the Armor School. It was his job to keep the radio/receiver transmitters used in the tanks in operational order, and he said, they had to be swapped out each day due to the fragility of the vacuum tubes.
Wisner said the soldiers assigned to the tanks sat outdoors for eight hours day after day and it was cold that year in Kentucky. The soldiers left the tanks running for warmth. Wisner said he had to crawl into the tanks to swap out the transmitters. The tanks didn’t have mufflers and they made, “quite a racket”, he said. Eventually, the noise caused a hearing loss for Wisner that he suffers with today.
Immediately upon his discharge all of his education and training opened a door and he walked right through it.
He was hired by IBM and was trained in their Computer Engineering Program. He went on to work for other known companies to include NCR, L.M. Ericsson, Burroughs, RCA, ICS, SENSORS, Inc., OMNITEXT and UNISYS. While at RCA, Dana Corp., maker of the mechanical cruise control, asked them to develop a modern electronic cruise control. Wisner was given the job.
The automotive industry used Wisner’s schematic and patent to produce speed control perhaps more commonly known as, cruise control. Another of his patents adopted by the automotive industry was his anti-skid brake system. Wisner said, “I’m proud to be the only engineer in the world that has two major patents on every vehicle worldwide.”
Wisner was honored for his 15 patents in 1915 at his alma mater, Hillsdale College, and deemed a “Distinguished Alumnus”. He was given a plaque to commemorate his achievement.
A few other achievements include, Unisys Achievement award for Excellence in 1987, a 2014 Ten-Ten International Net “Top Net Control Award” and his hometown schools, North Adams-Jerome Jr/Sr School’s 2019 Hall of fame Award. The best is yet to come. In the spring of 2017, his nomination was accepted for induction to The Automotive Hall of Fame.
Wisner was an assistant Boy Scout leader in Detroit teaching electronics before his retirement from UNISYS Corp. (formerly Burroughs). He devotes much time to his church, Marble Memorial Methodist, where he has been a member for 50 years. He served on the Milan Zoning Board of Appeals and participated in the Amateur Radio Hobby as an extra class operator. Other interests include old cars, gardening and genealogy. Wisner said, “I update the Clement, Crater and Wisner family’s histories.”
Wisner married Grace V. Stockford and they had three children resulting in seven grandchildren. He was remarried more than 50 years ago to Marilyn A. Brown. The couple is active at the Milan Seniors for Healthy Living center and enjoy taking exercise classes together.
Visit You Tube to see a short film on Wisner at https://youtu.be/ZiHT36t2PuY or Google his name for further information on his achievements.

Joyce Ervin is a freelance writer reporting on Milan. She can be contacted at: jlervin42 [at] yahoo [dot] com.

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