Thompson Ramo Wooldridge (TRW)

The remotest origin of the company was in the Cleveland Cap Screw Company founded in 1901, which eventually became Thompson Products. The 1958 merger of Thompson with the Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation was named Thompson Ramo Wooldridge Inc., then shortened to TRW Inc. in 1965. In 1977 ESL Inc. was merged into TRW, expanding the firm's high technology data communications capability.

TRW Inc. was active in the early development of missile systems and spacecraft, most notably the NASA deep space satellites Pioneer 10 and 11 which sent information back to Earth for 30 years and continue to travel to the stars. TRW Inc. also pioneered systems engineering.

TRW was one of the first companies to build automobile safety air bags in the 1980s, but problems with the bags forced a recall by Ford Motor in 1990 and 1991. It also ran into asbestos problems, having used the material in the 1970s as brake liners.

The 1999 acquisition of the British aerospace and automotive parts maker LucasVarity doubled the size of TRW's automotive business, but saddled it with so much debt that it had to start selling businesses. The board brought in David Cote as CEO in 2001 to try to turn the business around, but he left in less than a year. In February 2002 Northrop Grumman launched a $5.9 billion hostile bid for TRW. A bidding war between Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and General Dynamics ended on July 1 2002 when Northrop's increased bid of $7.8 billion was accepted.

Thompson Ramo Wooldridge (TRW)

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