LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) - He's the brain behind the modern washing machine and the man to thank for perfecting Colonel Sanders’ fried chicken. Local inventor Winston Shelton has dozens of patents to his name and quite a story to share. His is the latest in our Characters of Kentuckiana series.
Shelton started Winston Industries. The company’s products fuel the foodservice industry. You can travel the world without leaving the factory floor. The more than 200 employees there represent nearly a dozen different countries and speak nine languages. Shelton said the people are a major reason he still comes to work every single day, even at 96 years old.
“The story started when I was 15 when I just commanded of myself that I work until something important was done,” Shelton said. “What I really enjoy is the day to day solving a problem. As problem solvers, we tend to work until we’re 96.”
With nearly a century of life experience, Shelton has seen a lot and has more than 75 patents to his name.
“I think the patent acquirement is simply a pride matter and after you have 2 or 3 or 4, that’s enough,” Shelton said.
His brilliant mind is hard to grasp, but what it's created- not so much.
"The food is not only better, it's better for you,” Shelton said.
His ovens cook to perfection and then keep food fresh. They are inventions inspired by the fried chicken master himself, Colonel Sanders.
"He was the best that there was,” Shelton said.
Shelton created the collectramatic pressure fryer that let KFC expand all over the world, forming a friendship as golden as the signature dish he helped perfect
"He was a great teacher, and I would have failed if I hadn't been a good student,” Shelton said.
That’s something Shelton has been since the start. His dad owned a sawmill and service station, paving the way for Shelton’s imagination to run wild.
"We were allowed to do things. We were encouraged to do things,” Shelton said.
His dad also taught Shelton a lesson to last a lifetime.
"He said what he'd most like to think was that because of his life, the life of other people on earth would be better. Oh boy! I was expecting him to say I'd like to be a truck driver, but here was this thing that was awfully heavy and very big and very real to me that he imagined he could change the life of people on earth,” Shelton said.
Lucky for us, Shelton has with zero plans to retire anytime soon.
"No, of course not,” Shelton said.
For more information on Shelton and his career, click here.