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Thetford Corp. to Mark 50th Anniversary May 1

Thetford corporate office

Thetford Corp., a leading supplier of sanitation products for the RV and marine industries, will mark its 50th year of operation on May 1.

According to a press release, the company was founded by Frank Sargent and his two sons in 1963 after they recognized the need to improve the recreational lifestyle, and continues “to set the standard for reliable and recognizable sanitation products.”

Thetford has had many industry-leading achievements in the past 50 years, including the first holding tank slide-action valve along with low-profile, low-water-use plastic RV toilets and the first two-piece portable toilet, Porta-Potti. Its innovations like Aqua-Kem and Aqua-Soft have also benefited generations of RVers. Most recently, Thetford introduced the stylish and lightweight Aqua-Magic Residence toilet and the beautiful and award-winning Porta-Potti Curve.

“Our products have helped revolutionize the RV industry,” said Kevin Phillips, Thetford executive vice president. “I’m pleased to say that Thetford products have helped make the recreational experience what it is today. With reliable products that are the staples of RVing and boating, we’ve provided users with convenience and helped them to better enjoy what’s both a hobby and lifestyle.”

Founded as a family company, Thetford continues to stay true to these ideals as it grows in size and innovation. “We hold close to family values, treat people fairly and look for long-term relationships with our customers. I think these have been consistent threads through the company’s history,” said Phillips. “Beginning in the late 1980’s, Thetford was on the forefront of RV store merchandising and marketing and that continues today. In addition, dealers taking our web-based training have really been positive about how it has helped make them better retailers.”

Thetford is not only a leader in the RV industry, but its employees are active members in it. Phillips noted, “We live in the market. In other words, we employ people who are avid RVers and it’s helped shape our products. An example is our SmartTotes, which were developed by one of our engineers who experienced, first hand, the need for a quality waste tote tank.”

Although 50 years is a worthy milestone, the company has no plans to slow down. “Thetford is proud to have grown up, hand in hand, with the American RV industry,” said Phillips. “We will continue to innovate and move forward with the global RV industry.”

Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., Thetford is a privately held company with seven manufacturing facilities worldwide. Thetford subsidiaries include Norcold, a leading manufacturer of gas-absorption refrigerators and freezers for the RV, marine and truck markets; Tecma, a producer of fine-china toilets and powerful waste-transfer systems based in Italy; and Thetford Europe, which manufactures high-quality cooking and heating appliances and accessories.

For more information visit www.thetford.com.


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#1 Comment By John Dale “Pee Wee” Schwamborn On April 10, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

In 1965 I met Ron Sargent one of the founding sons. He was sitting in the purchasing lobby at Airstream. Next to him on a chair was a large object in a pillow case. I asked Ron, “What is that?” He told me it was a new toilet that he hoped Airstream will use in their trailer. He showed it to me. The rest is history. Airstream adopted the Thetford toilet. Like so many fledgling products Airstream wasa forerunner in using and promoting products before they became industry standards. My hats off to Thetford on their 50th anniversary.

#2 Comment By peter simmons On April 10, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

Congratulations Thetford on you 50th Anniversary. You revolutionized the Caravan/RV bathroom
I had the privilege of being the exclusive UK importer of Porta Porta in 1967 and then joined Thetford UK in 1970. I rose to the rank of Managing Director Europe and then moved to Canada in 1980 to head up Thefords Canadian subsidiary.
Thanks to my mentors Frank and Bud Sargent I enjoyed many wonderfully memorable years in what I can only describe as one of the best companies in the RV world.
Today I am happily retired in Vancouver Canada with my wife Jenny, family and grandchildren