Thornton Industries

By dhowell - Posted on 03 January 2008

The Thornton operation is in the location of the building which was the Manchester Ford Plant on East Austin Road at the village limits. Ray F. Thornton, president of the Manchester Products Co., is an inventor, Thornton has been named by the Michigan Patent Law Association as one of Michigan's outstanding living inventors.

The plant manufactures the Thornton Tandem Four-Wheel Drive, among other things.

Mr. Thornton invented and developed the SpicerThornton Powr-Lok Differential used by Packard in 1956 and later produced by Dana Corporation of Fort Wayne, Ind. He applied for his first patent at the age of 16 years—a gadget to lift valve pins from Model T engines.

Among the things now under study at the plant is a new processing machine for frying bacon and safety devices for cars, which are in the experimental stages.