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THOMPSON, CHARLES EDWIN

THOMPSON, CHARLES EDWIN

THOMPSON, CHARLES EDWIN (16 July 1870-4 Oct. 1933), automotive pioneer whose Thompson Valve made high-powered automobile and aircraft engines possible, was born in McIndoe Falls, Vt. to Thomas and Mary Ann Young Thompson, attended Boston Preparatory School, and came to Cleveland in 1892 as inspector and branch manager for Cleveland Telephone Co. In 1898, he became district manager with Bell Co. in Dallas, but returned to Cleveland in 1900. In 1901 Thompson helped organized Cleveland Cap Screw Co., becoming general manager in 1905 when it became Electric Welding Prods. Co., welding automobile chassis and bicycle parts. In 1916, Electric Welding merged with 2 Detroit firms to form Steel Prods. Co. Thompson helped solve a major problem with early automobile engines, creating valves that could withstand tremendous stress by electrically welding the head to the stem. In 1917, he developed a solid 1-piece valve from steel alloy; and in 1920, he fabricated a high-resistance valve from a chromium, nickel, and silicon alloy, so that soon almost all American cars used Thompson Valves. In 1926, the company name changed to Thompson Prods. (see TRW INC.). In 1929, Thompson began sponsoring the Thompson Trophy Race at the NATL. AIR RACES. Thompson married Maora Hubbard (d. 1900) in 1889 with whom he had one son, Edwin de Groot Thompson. He married Alberta Brown in 1919 (div. 1927), and Gloria Hayes Hopkins in 1927, who had four children, Howard, Kenneth, LaRene, and Mrs. Philip Farley, by an earlier marriage.

Thompson's body was cremated. Some of his ashes were released over downtown Cleveland from a plane piloted by Jas. Doolittle. The remainder were interred at LAKE VIEW CEMETERY


TRW Records, WRHS.