Inland Manufacturing Division


1940s Inland Manufacturing Division insignia

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The Inland Manufacturing Division of General Motors was organized in 1922 for the manufacturing of wood wrapped steering wheels. The division used the buildings and technology of the defunct Dayton Wright Airplane Company. The division was unique as the only division created within the corporation, not acquired by purchase.

By 1924, the wooden steering wheel had been replaced with the hard rubber steering wheel and the division gradually transformed from a wood working operation to a rubber processing operation.

A wartime shortage of men and women to fill jobs led to the enactment of a “buddy” shift. The first business in Dayton to adopt the new buddy shift was Inland Manufacturing. In February 1943, Inland hired a number of high school boys to work at Inland after school until 7 p.m., at which time men and women who had full time jobs during the day would take over and work until 10 p.m.

Inland Division of General Motors was one of nine contractor-established manufacturing facilities that tooled up and turned out M-1 carbines during WWII, a five-pound rifle considered the nation’s best ordnance effort of the war. By the end of the war, Inland had produced over two and a half million carbines. Inland also produced a one-pound pistol called the “Little Monster”, which had been designed to be airdropped to resistance fighters in Europe.

During the war Inland also made tank tracks for America’s leading tank manufacturers, as well as Great Britain’s. At war’s end almost 20 million tank shoes of various sizes were fabricated by Inland. The diesel tank clutch was another product developed by Inland. Inland also made gun sights and shoulder rests for the rapid firing 20mm anti-aircraft gun. Helmet liners were produced in great quantities by Inland. Fire extinguisher horns used on United States Naval ships were in short supply and insufficient strength. Within 60 days Inland was mass-producing a new and improved horn. Inland aircraft hose, steering wheels, gaskets, sleeves, bushings and countless other small parts were produced for the war effort.

After the war, Inland applied its experience to mass produce plastic and rubber steering wheels, clutches, motor mounts, running boards, gravel shields, brake linings, weather strips, refrigerator door seals, defroster hose, small plastic parts, radio cabinets and many other products. Inland practically took over the metal ice tray business producing trays for almost all the large electric refrigerator companies.

By the 1950’s, Inland was making brake linings, bumpers, turn signals and a host of other automotive products. By 1982, it also was turning out fiberglass suspension springs for the Chevrolet Corvette.

In 1989, the Inland division was merged with Fisher Guide to form Inland Fisher Guide. That was later grouped with GM’s other components divisions to form the Automotive Components Group (ACG).

In 1995, ACG was renamed Delphi Automotive Systems and spun off from GM in 1999.

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