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If Litton Industries had never existed, chances are many advanced technologies in common or military use today would never have been developed. This small electronics company used innovation and the leveraging of a variety of inventions to grow into a major player in the military-industrial complex of the United States. Like most other major contributors, Litton got into the business of war at exactly the right time: just prior to World War II and the subsequent Cold War.

Its growth was greatly increased when Tex Thornton, one of the Whiz Kids of Ford Motor Company, bought the company out and took charge of it. His combination of technological knowledge and business acumen enabled him to build his new Litton Industries into a major military player. The products Litton Industries developed over the years include the following.

The Litton microwave oven was Littons first venture into the ordinary world of consumer electronics. Using an interesting side-effect of the radar magnetron, Litton created a superpowered cooking machine. The Litton oven was introduced in the 1940s and sold to restaurants; a home version would not be available until 1967.

The LN 3 Inertial Guidance System, an advanced guidance system for missiles or for autopilot or pilot assistance programs, was developed by Litton Industries and became standard on all NATO fighter aircraft as well as being incorporated into many of the United States military missiles and aircraft. Like most Litton advanced technology for the military, details of how this works and how it is incorporated are largely secret. Though details on similar systems are not available to the public, it is certain that many secret systems originally developed by Litton are still in use or continuing development under Northrop Grumman.

At Ingalls Shipbuilding, the first military shipyard acquired by Litton Industries after Thornton purchased them, combatant ships are still built for the United States Navy. Between Ingalls and other shipyards owned by Litton, over seventy ships were built from 1975 until Litton was sold in 2001. This is an enormous percentage of the U.S. Navy shipbuilding budget.

Electronic systems components have been made by Litton and continue being made by Northrop Grummon, including slip rings, display units, and microwave power tubes.

Partly because of their increasingly specialized industrial needs, Litton Industries purchased Landis Tool Company and its subsidiary Gardner Machine Company in 1968. This gave Litton Industries a handle on the machine tool industry, and in particular the high-precision machine tool industry using superabrasive wheels and cutting instruments like industrial diamond bits and cubic boron nitride (CBN) instruments.

In working with NASA, Litton helped develop items like the Litton Mark 1 Suit, the prototype and nearly-finished working model for the moonwalk space suits worn by Americas first lunar astronauts. The expertise held by Litton in thermionic valves and working with sealed vacuum proved incredibly useful to NASAs programs.

Leveraging the various expertises developed from Charles Littons initial innovations with the vacuum tube, Litton proved critical in the development of a number of different industries. Litton products outside the ones mentioned above tend to be the things you dont notice ? the machine bits used to cut the prototypes to your cars parts, or the balance systems helping the airplanes you fly in remain stable. Yet though hardly anyone knows today who Litton Industries was, almost every Americans life has been touched directly by something Litton helped develop


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George Heeden1   (12/9/2006)
My Litton Microwave is finally starting to lose some of its steam. I bought the Microwave in 1974 and have used it ever since. I think one could say that it has been a pretty good appliance. However, I think I now have to replace it. Thank-you for such good work.

Tom Schmid2   (3/16/2007)
I bought my Mom and Dad a Litton microwave in about 1978 or 1979. The plastic door release handle broke the first week. Dad and I repaired it together, laughing over a glass of wine. Years later they gave it back to me... because I needed one...Mom and Dad are both gone now - bless their hearts - but the microwave is still going. It sits here heating coffee, etc reminding me of the grand days I had with my dad when we were both adults.I wonder how long it will go? I am now considering asking my grandkids to promise they will use it - as I am getting along in years.If only my good old Toyota would have lasted as long. I bought it in 81 and it was completely worn out by about 97 or so.Tom Schmid (3/16/2007)

Sara Director3   (3/22/2007)
Our Litton microwave is almost twice as old as I am, and its beginning to see the end of its days. My parents bought it in 1974, and weve used it ever since. It hasnt even needed any repairs since then, aside from when my parents replaced the fan during its first year. Its hard to see this microwave go after so longit will be missed. Rest in peace, Litton microwave.

Amy Smith4   (6/3/2007)
My dad bought my mother her Litton microwave for Mothers day, 1974. I was just 4 years old then and grew up with that microwave. My mother has used it every day, sometimes multiple times per day, without fail. This has been a tremendously reliable appliance but the original light bulb just went out last week, after more than 33 years of service. Thank you, Litton, for making such a wonderful appliance! I wish every modern appliance on the market had such great reliability! Any ideas on whether its possible to replace the bulb?

Pat Lobos5   (7/14/2007)
And here I thought I had the worlds oldest, still working Little Litton microwave! We bought ours in 1985 and its still going strong. The handle on ours broke too, many years ago, we just use it the way it is because were used to it. It wont last forever so I wish I could replace it, the measurements are perfect for my countertop.

Dick  Riley6   (7/27/2007)
Back in the 60s, my wifes aunt gave us a set od Litton Microwave cooking dishes. We have used them daily, and cant imagine a better product for the microwave oven. We have never seen them in any store and have no idea where to find more of them, not even on the Litton web site. We would like to be able to buy more of them to give as gifts, if anyone can tell us where they can be bought. Dick Riley driley97@sbcglobal.net

MARY  DICKINSON7   (9/10/2007)
I HAVE HAD A LITTON MICROWAVE OVEN - MODEL 1008, SEERIAL #00317 - WHICH I PURCHASED IN 1980 OR 1982 - IT IS STILL RUNNING AND I HAVE JUST GIVEN IT TO THE LIONS CLUB OR CHARLEVOIX, MICHIGAN TO USE IN THEIR TRAILER - I EXPECT IT TO KEEP GOING, AND THE ONLY REASON I GAVE IT AWAY WAS THAT IT NO LONGER FIT ON THE SHELF IN MY REMODELED KITCHEN - I JUST WANTED YOU TO KNOW HOW PLEASED I HAVE BEEN WITH YOUR PRODUCT - PLEASE PASS THIS INFORMATION ON TO CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS. THGANK YOU, MARY DICKINSON.

Richard  Michaud8   (9/14/2007)
My microware melted the plastic fan cover. Does this mean the whole appliance has failed or do I just need a new fan cover. Thanks. 435-752-2631

Charlotte DesHotels9   (11/6/2007)
My husband gave me my Litton microwave oven the year before our son was born, in 1978. It recently stopped working (2007), and we had to let it go. However, I would love to purchase another Litton microwave. Do you still make them? Where can I find out where to purchase one? All the microwaves I see in department stores and big box stores are cheap and lightweight compared to my old Litton!thanks!

Bobby Scroggins10   (11/6/2007)
My wife and I received a Litton Meal-In-One Microwave as a wedding gift in 1973. Model# 1011.000 Serial# 002959 To my disappointment she replaced it today with a new model. Wish it was a Litton. It still works fine and wonder how much longer it would have lasted? Thanks for a superb product!!

carol cannon11   (11/9/2007)
We bought our Litton Microwave in about 1971. We were the first in the family and group of friends to own a microwave. I raised 3 kids with my microwave cooking. Two weeks ago it finally died. I am heartbroken. A friend just gave me one that is a little bit newer. Hopefully I will have it for years and years. Thanks Litton!!

Dan Ruel12   (11/24/2007)
Nov.24, 2007In 1973, I bought a Litton Microwave for the teachers lounge and my home. With two kids, who used it daily, and my wife and I both working it received quite a workout. We are still using it and it is still efficient. The original light bulb is still in the oven and still works. With a product like this (no planned obseletscenc a company cant stay in business. Thanks for a fine product.

Alice Thomas13   (12/9/2007)
My late husband purchased a Litton Prestige Microwave for me in 1989, It has been the hub of my kitchen ever siince. I just stopped working (the timer and fan work, but it will not heat foods).I would like to have it repaired, if you could put me in touch with a repairman, or let me know what part(s) I need to purchase in order to keep this gem in my kitchen. 785-263-1971

Terry Jones14   (1/20/2008)
I was the twelfth employee of the microwave division of Litton Industries in the fall of 1964. I was 24 years old and just out of college. Bob Bruder, a native of Shaker Heights, Ohio and a small manufacturer of infrared ovens, had contracted with a manufacturer of private label appliances in Minneapolis to build Americaís first portable, air cooled microwave oven, the model 611. It weighed 110 pounds and was crated and shipped to Cleveland for final inspection before being shipped to first customers.Bob had just returned from the west coast vending show in Los Angeles, with his brother-in Ėlaw, Al Waggenheim, and the marketing manager of Stouffers Foods, a personal friend. One of Tex Thorntonís engineers discovered our booth at the show and was impressed that he was using a Litton magnetron and power pack. In essence, Litton made a deal to buy the Bruder Company on site. Bob Bruder and team returned to Cleveland, jubilant, and the word was to get this show on the road at any cost.I was lucky to be recruited because of my experience with Litton magnetrons and power packs in the US Navy as an ECM technician. My job was to set up a national network of authorized service agencies, train the technicians, stock them with spare parts and write the first service manual. In addition, I was called to Washington to educate the people at BRH on safety issues and work with the Marriott Hot Shoppes, one of our first customers. I traveled from coast to coast and border to border, as well as the Caribbean, throughout the late 60ís and early 70ís.By 1967, Litton had engineered the first air cooled, countertop microwave. The first ones were marketed door-to-door. They were the finest microwave oven that has ever been built. They were sleek and compact with a stainless steel cavity, ceramic shelf and a die cast door operated on ball bearings. They weighed slightly less than 80 pounds and sold for around $700 each.In 1973 I left Litton with the blessing of Mr. Bruder and the corporate executives at Litton Microwave to open the first retail store in America, selling nothing but microwave ovens, in Greenville, SC,. The timing was perfect. America was ready. The Amana Radarange was on the market as well as Panasonic, Sharp and a myriad of others. We rapidly grew to five retail stores in Greenville, Spartanburg and Columbia, SC and Asheville, NC. By 1975 we had reached the $1,000,000 mark in sales of household microwave ovens and by 1983, $2,000,000.It became increasingly difficult to compete with the mass merchandisers and we closed our final doors in 1985. I retired to Myrtle Beach, SC and started a catering business. I have gone from fast cooking to slow cooking, specializing in whole roasted pigs and other foods cooked on outdoor grills.Bob Bruder and Tex Thornton have long since passed. Litton dissolved the microwave oven division under the strain of ineffective leadership and intense competition from Japan and Korea many years ago. It seems that all the history is lost. There is very little information on the internet. If I can be any help to anyone researching the history of Litton Microwaves, you can reach me at (843) 293-6310 or email at Terry@TBonesBBQ.com.

RICHARD GABE15   (2/23/2008)
DOES ANY KNOW WERE TO BUY THE OLD LITTONWARE MICROWRE DISHES. I HAVE USE THEM FOR YEARS. THEY WARE OUT FOR SO MUCH USE GETTNG HOLES AND CRAKES. I WOULD LIKE BUY SOME NEW ONESRICHARD S. GABE154 SALUDA ST.CHESTER SC. 29706FAX 803 581 5413 PHONE 803 209 5268E MAIL richards_78063@yahoo.com

Gerry  Parisi16   (2/24/2008)
I got my wife a Litton model 445 Microwave for Christmas in 1978. She was afraid of it at first but in no time at all it was used constantly. After 4 kids and now 2 grandchildren, it is still working like the day it was bought. The only service that it has had is a few new light bulbs. We have had offers to have it replaced but NO WAY. People actually ask if it is still working. Amazing !!!

Susan Day17   (2/29/2008)
I bought my Litton MW in 1980, Ed Kellys was running a special, buy a MW & get a 15 speed bicycle. My car broke & that bike is what got my infant son to the daycare & me to work. I replaced the touch pad one time while still under warranty & until yesterday (2-28-08) never had a bit of trouble. It was used multiple times a day every day all these years. Im heartbroken. This has been an excellent appliance with lasting quality, something Im afraid I wont be able to get these days. Thank you Litton!

Allen Carpenter18   (3/27/2008)
Informative site. The Litton NVDs are awesome.

Fehrn Sandstrom19   (5/2/2008)
I have the big Litton Memory Memormatic Meal-In-One purchased back in 1968 when they first came out. Love it and it is still working like a new one and have not replaced anything on it. They just dont make products like this any more - make them to last 10 years so you have to buy a new one. Litton Industries is top in the field and noone has come close to them ever.

frank masters20   (7/12/2008)
I RECENTLY INHERITED A LITTON MICRO-BROWNER L-1 SKILLETT WITH AN H-1 HANDLE. DOES ANYONE HAVE AN ISTRUCTION MANUAL FOR ITS USE? I AM WILLING TO BUY OR PAY FOR IT TO BE COPIED. I NEED TO KNOW IF THE SKILLET NEEDS TO BE OOILED TO USE OR SHOULD IT BE USED DRY?I HAVE A DIFFERENT BRAND MICRO-WAVE OVEN, ALTHOUGH NOT A LITTON, I CHERISH IT, IT HAS BEEN USED SEVERAL TIMES A DAY SINCE I BOUGHT IT IN 1982 WITH NO REPAIRS AND I DONíT WANT TO DAMAGE MY OVEN BY EXPLODING SOMETHING IN IT.PLEASE CONTACT ME santafrank at att.net

Brenda Martin21   (7/16/2008)
Looking for an instruction book for a Litton Go Anywhere microwave. Model 1437.B, serial #054343.Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Sheila S.22   (12/7/2008)
I bought my (Model #970)Litton Microwave, stovetop,self-cleaning range in August 1981 for my wedding present from family and friends. Needless to say the whole unit lasted longer than the first marriage and it is still going strong through my second and last marriage. ) I feel it is the best kitchen appliance ever. Too bad more companies dont make things to last. I wished they were still in business.





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