Ternstedt Division


Inside Ternstedt

I was there...

Tell us your story >

Written by Bill Bowman

Ternstedt was named after its founder, Alvar K. Ternstedt, inventor of the first practical car window regulator. A native of Sweden, he applied for a patent on his invention in 1911, but it was not granted until 1916. The regulator utilized a chain and sprocket mechanism that offered greater ease of operation than any previous device. Ternstedt needed financial backing to start his own company, so in 1917 he invited the Fishers and several others to join him. At that time, the Fisher organization was already the largest body-building firm in the world.

At a meeting in Detroit on April 17, 1917, the Ternstedt Manufacturing Company was incorporated and Alvar K. Ternstedt was elected chairman. The seven other directors were four of the Fisher brothers and three other major Fisher Body Company shareholders. Ternstedt did not live long enough to enjoy the success of his venture. He died six months later and in 1920, Fisher Body acquired the Ternstedt firm located in Detroit, Michigan.

In 1921, the responsibility for the manufacture of all hardware required by Fisher Body had been turned over to Ternstedt. Also in 1921, Ternstedt acquired two independent manufacturing companies, the England Manufacturing Company and the International Metal Stamping Company. The England Company had been turning out (and selling to Fisher Body) rolled shapes and stampings. The International Company built truck cabs, fenders, and large stampings. Ternstedt continued to build the cab for a while until this activity was moved elsewhere. It might be of interest to some that Ternstedt, at this time, turned out heavy stampings such as fenders, radiator shells and door panels until this line was discontinued in 1926.

Ternstedt Plant in Detroit
In 1926, General Motors acquired the remaining stock of Fisher Body which brought Ternstedt into General Motors and Ternstedt became known as the Ternstedt Manufacturing Division, General Motors Corporation. Having developed a complete line of products, which covered the major automotive hardware items, and with ample facilities to meet the growing demand for its products, Ternstedt soon became the largest manufacturer of automotive hardware in the world. In addition to producing the hardware for all General Motors cars through “Body by Fisher”, Ternstedt branched out into other fields; including the manufacture of hardware for boats, ice boxes and some hardware for a large portion of the non-General Motors automotive industry.

Ternstedt Plant in Trenton, NJ
By 1937, the facilities of the Detroit Plant were strained to capacity and a new plant (designed to duplicate a number of the faster moving items) was built in Trenton, New Jersey. Prior to the war, the Trenton payroll peaked at over three thousand employees.

The production record of these plants during the war is worthy of mentioning. Trenton, operating as a division of Eastern Aircraft and partially fabricated and assembled the Navy carrier based bombing plane, called the Avenger. Before the end of war production Trenton was producing fifteen Avengers per day. Detroit produced anti-aircraft gun housings, gun synchronizers, gun sights, aircraft parts, gyroscopes, M-4 and Fisher tank parts and other miscellaneous war production items. Both plants were recipients of the Army-Navy E Award. There were 4,283 plants, approximately half a million workers, which received the Army-Navy E production Award representing about 5% of the total number of plants that performed war work.

After the war, both Detroit and Trenton facilities were reconverted and produced hardware for “Body by Fisher”. Anticipating the increased demands of the industry, a new Ternstedt plant was built in Columbus, Ohio in 1946. With this added facility, Ternstedt was equipped to turn out more hardware than ever before.

In 1946, the name was changed to Fisher Body-Ternstedt Division.

In 1948, Ternstedt became a separate division.

In 1968, Ternstedt was reunited with Fisher Body.

In 1984, Fisher Body was dissolved by being merged with other GM operations.

Tag Cloud

1897-1909 Creation  1910-1930 Acceleration  1931-1958 Emotion  1959-1981 Revolution  1982-1999 Globalization  2000-Future Transformation  AC Spark Plug  Advertising & Marketing  Allison Engineering Company  Alternative Fuels  Alternative Materials  Alternative Propulsion  Anniversaries  Autoshows  Behind the Scenes  Beyond North America  Board of Directors  Brands & Products  Buick  Cadillac  Celebrities  Chevrolet  Color & Trim  Competitions  Concept Vehicles  Corporate Responsibility  DELCO  DELCO Electronics  Dealers & Distributors  Design  Design Centers  Detroit Diesel  Diversity  Education  Electromotive  Electronics  Emblems & Logos  Employees  Endurance  Energy Conservation  Engineering  Enthusiasts  Environment & Energy  Eras  Executives  Finance  Firsts  Fisher Body  Former Divisions  Frigidaire  GMAC  GMC  GMOO - GM Overseas Operations  GM Daewoo  HUMMER  Headquarters  Holden  Hughes Electronics  I was there...  Innovation & Technology  Innovators  Joint Ventures  LaSalle  Labor  Manufacturing  Mergers & Acquisitions  Methods & Techniques  Motorama  Oakland  Oldsmobile  OnStar  Opel  Operating Units  Pace Vehicles  Parade of Progress  People  Places  Plants  Pollution Control  Pontiac  Powertrain  Proving Grounds  Racing  Research  Retirees  Saab  Safety  Sales & Service  Saturn  Shows & Events  Specific Races  Sponsorships  Studios  Suppliers  Technical Centers  Ternstedt  The Business  Trends  United Motors  Vauxhall  World's Fairs