A founder of car rental industry and former Hertz president, Walter L. Jacobs died February 6, 1985, in Miami of a circulatory ailment. He was 88.
Jacobs organized the world's first car-rental business in Chicago in 1918 with 12 Model T Fords. Five years later, he sold the operation to John Hertz, who sold the company to GM in 1926. In nearly 70 years, the company has grown to almost 400,000 vehicles and recorded more than 15 million rentals worldwide in 1984.
Jacobs served as president of Hertz, both under Hertz and GM ownership. In 1953, Jacobs helped form the Omnibus group of investors that bought Hertz back from GM. He retired fromt he corporate presidency in 1960, but remained director of the company until 1968.
Credit card use and airport locations, two crucial innovations in the rental industry, were both introduced by Jacobs.