Glynis Board Published

American Inventor Winston Shelton Passes Away

Colonel Sanders, his wife Claudia, Winston and Dolly Shelton, Norman Rockwell, daughter Laura Shelton, Dick Miller (Colonel Sanders' driver) and son David Shelton at Rockwell's studio in Rockwell, Massachusetts.

Winston Shelton passed away last week. Born in Nicholas County, he grew up in Clay and Greenbrier counties, and became an electrical engineer, inventor, and entrepreneur who was awarded 76 U.S. patents.

In a biography published last year, Winston L. Shelton: a life of Invention, it’s written that Shelton was working on creating an underwater exploration helmet, a gasoline powered child’s wagon, and a rudimentary sawmill—all before he was in high school.

Shelton went on to work for General Electric where his inventions helped create and refine the modern, top-loading, rotating spiral agitator washing machine.

He eventually started his own business in Louisville, Kentucky. One of his first investors was Colonel Sanders. Shelton went on to invent the pressure fryer that made Kentucky Fried Chicken successful.

Shelton later commissioned a Norman Rockwell portrait of Colonel Sanders.

He worked at the company he founded, Winston Industries, until he passed last week. He was almost 97 years old.

*editor’s note: This story has been altered to reflect that fact that Shelton was not running Winston Industries until his death, but rather working there.