Thursday, December 9, 2010

Kenmore's Driving Force For The Physically Challenged

Genius of P.A. Dunn Boon to Handicapped
Courier Express February 21, 1965
                     By H. K. Smith

Mr. Dunn Holds His Single and Double
Shifts for Handicapped Drivers
  INVENTOR OF NOTE -- The varied inventions of Paul A. Dunn Jr. range from a jack for airplanes that is used on a Gemini spacecraft, to special equipment for the handicapped and for hospital patients. The Dunn Manual Drive Control enables a handicapped driver to operate the brakes and accelerator of his car with either his right or left hand. That is the invention for which Paul Dunn is internationally known. Recently he received enquiries concerning it from Ford Motor Co. of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
   HAVE A GOOD RECORD -- The portable control, costing less than $100, has made driving possible for thousands of handicapped men and women. Mr. Dunn has instructed several hundred in its use and reported the safety records 300 users are above average. Jefferson High School of Rochester has added this control to it's driver education equipment and currently is instructing 20 handicapped teenage students. "If normal drivers would use my manual control, accidents could be reduced," Mr. Dunn maintains. "By eliminating that fraction of a second required to move the foot from accelerator to brake, my control shortens by 22 ft. the space a car travels after the driver moves to stop it." 

Patent Drawing For Driving Controls
  REGULATES SPEED -- Also the Dunn Control can set the car's speed, (cruise control) thereby relieving the driver from keeping the foot on the accelerator. "This lessons driver fatigue, a recognized cause of accidents," Mr. Dunn said. For the Chronic Disease Research Institute and Meyer Memorial Hospital, Mr. Dunn has designed and invented equipment for the alleviation of pain and rehabilitation of the handicapped.  A patent is pending for his body support for relief and prevention of decubitus lesions and burns (bed sores). The basic pad is a circular pad covered with a washable material.
  PROVIDE SUPPORT -- An arm or leg can be thrust through a hole in the center to place the cushion where it is most needed.  Within the central aperture are tiny pyramids of material, firm enough to give support to the limb, yet pliable for comfort. This pad, and equipment to hold bent toes in position to make walking possible, were originated by Mr. Dunn during three years at Meyer Memorial Hospital. He was supervisor of planning and equipment for the pre-vocational evaluation center for the hospital. He deems his Dunnometer more than just an exerciser and tester for virtually any muscle in the body. "It's a gauge, that the patient can watch, has psychological value," he said. "It enables the patient, recovering from a stroke, to check the improvement of his muscles every day."

   MAN WITH IDEAS -- The long list of Dunn inventions includes a lift to transport a wheel chair and its occupant up or down a flight of stairs; several devices to facilitate amputees or persons with disabled hands; a bowling rack to roll the ball from the lap of a person in a wheelchair; a light, portable wheelchair driven by electric motor, the first fan type snow blower, and race cars with both front and rear wheel steering.  Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, Mr. Dunn designed a portable illuminating unit for the Kenmore Volunteer Fire Department of which he has been a member for 25 years. This was adapted for airport lighting during the war.
  Widely respected in the automotive field, Mr. Dunn was chosen to write the program of 9000 hours training in automobile mechanics for the returned veterans in New York State. He, himself, instructed 40 former GI's. He is listed in the Current Automotive Manufacturers Who's Who.

Patent Drawing For Dunn Airplane Jack
  NATIVE  BUFFALONIAN -- Born in this city, Mr. Dunn is the son of an able automotive engineer. His father, Paul Sr., built the first portable welder, and was the first in the United States to weld aluminum. Mr. Dunn is a graduate of School 59 and of old Technical High School.  He has taken additional courses in the engineering field. Two years ago he took a course in evaluation of the handicapped worker at the Institute for Crippled and Disabled of New York University.  
 LIVES IN  KENMORE -- In Kenmore, where the Dunns live, he is a leader in community activities. He developed Kenmore's first public playground at Elmwood and Mang, obtaining the land from the village and soliciting equipment and volunteer labor from citizens to add to the WPA work group.  A long-time baseball player, he is in demand as a coach for boys teams. He arranged for the first handicapped group from this city to take part in the Para Olympics, and accompanied the competitors to the sports contests on Long Island.
 RAN A GARAGE -- During World War II he organized the first Boys in Service Club in the United States to keep servicemen in touch with the hometown. He has been identified with the automotive field and aviation. At one time, he operated a collision repair garage manned by 35 mechanics. Last August, equipment designed for the handicapped by Mr. Dunn, was exhibited at the American Congress for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation meeting in Boston.
Dunn Developed Kenmore's 1st public Playground
 at Elmwood and Mang
   Mr. Dunn married Marion Dory of Buffalo. Their daughter Linda, is a high school teacher in Detroit. They have two sons, Paul Dunn III, a veteran of the Marines, is certified as a limb and brace maker by the NYU Institute and is a member of the Meyer Memorial Hospital staff. The younger son Victor, is a student at Bryant and Stratton Business School.

Also See:  Paul Dunn, So Others May Drive

The Museum of Disability History


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