Charles Litton Sr. Biography

Charles Litton Sr. was an American inventor and entrepreneur. Born on March 13, 1904, in California, United States of America, he founded of Litton Industries and Litton Engineering Laboratories.

Charles Litton Sr.
Charles Litton Sr. (image:

Charles Litton Sr. was the son of a couple of modest means. He attended California School of Mechanical Arts of San Francisco where he acquired his skill in machining. He enrolled at Stanford University where he was one of the original students in the school’s engineering faculty. In 1924, he graduated with the degree mechanical engineering and the following year, he finished electrical engineering.

After graduation, Charles joined Bell Telephone Laboratories and later, moved to Federal Telegraph Company where he rose to become the head of tube engineering. When company transferred the main office to New Jersey, he opted to resign and stay in California. He continued to experiment on making machines for used in the glass and metal works.

In 1932, Charles founded Litton Engineering Laboratories and went on to become a supplier of metal- and glass-working machinery to mass-produce vacuum tubes. At that time, the radio industry was flourishing and there was great demand for vacuum tubes, not only from industry players but also from students of his alma mater which was just located nearby. With the onset of World War II, his laboratory was contracted to manufacture magnetrons which were used in microwave and radar technology.

In 1953, the electronic division was spun-off and sold to Electro Dynamics Corporation which was later renamed Litton Industries. Charles kept the glass-working lathes manufacturing as the main business of his laboratory.

Charles died in 1972 at the age of 68. His two sons carried on the business of Litton Engineering Laboratories.

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