Robert Gilmore (R.G) LeTourneau
- Pages: 5
- Word count: 1088
- Category: Autobiography
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Robert Gilmore (R.G) LeTourneau is a man emulated by many for his amazing rise from a simple life to a man who made history through his deeds. Despite the challenges he faced trying to make ends meet by working lowly paid jobs his determination seemed to increase by day. His innovation and developments in earthmoving equipment not only improved his life as an individual but the world as a whole. He created a legacy that will last years after he is gone. This paper discusses the lifetime of LeTourneau. It explains how this remarkable man incorporated Christianity in his daily life. His life can be described as one well lived as it was not self centered but was for the good of all.
Robert Gilmore (R.G) LeTourneau was born in a humble Christian family on November 30th 1888 in Richmond Vermont United States of America. He showed a cold shoulder to the form of education offered at the time and this saw his dropping from school at a tender age of 14. (R.G. LeTourneau Online Museum). In search for employment he moved to various places until he started working at East Portland Iron Works as an enterprise iron monger.
He enrolled in an International Correspondence School where he studied mechanics while still on the job. He later acquired welding skills as well as how to apply or rather operate with electricity when he shifted jobs to work in Yerba Buena Power Plant. In the year 1909 he moved to California where he worked he acquired numerous skills ranging from wood cutting, carpentry and farm hand. These skills were very significant or valuable in his later life. (R.G. LeTourneau Online Museum).
Three years later he worked at the Superior Garage in Stockton where he acquired skills on vehicle mechanics. He was later to become a co owner of the business.
LeTourneau married Evelyn Peterson in 1917 and together they had five children a daughter and four sons.
According to the R.G. LeTourneau Online Museum, during the First World War he worked as a maintenance assistant with the Mare Navy Yard in California. Here, he improved his skills through training in electricity and welding. On his return to Stockton he found out that the garage had failed and he had to look for means of earning to repay the debts incurred. To this respect he worked with a private entrepreneur repairing his tractor and later using it and a towed scrapper to level approximately 40 acres.
After working for some time in this position he was able to purchase his own Holt tractor and with a hired scraper he was able to start his own business as a land leveling contractor. In 1921 he was able to establish an engineering workshop and from the workshop he designed and built various scrappers. He combined manufacturing of earthmoving equipments with contracting business and this saw the tremendous expansion of his business. He established the R. G. LeTourneau Inc in 1929. (R.G. LeTourneau Online Museum).
LeTourneau was able to complete various projects in the 1920’s to 1930’s all of which were related to earthmoving business. On retirement from employment he was able to concentrate intensively in the manufacture of earthmoving equipment. Over time he established manufacturing plants in various places or regions and soon it was a world wide based establishment. (LeTourneau R, 1972)
Orlemann C in his book LeTourneau Earthmovers explains how Robert Gilmore is remembered today as most earth moving machines that are currently in use are as a result of his inventions and developments. (2001). Some people argue that his inventions were way ahead of his time due to the fact that they seem very applicable today years after he invented them. In his book, Mover of men and mountains; the autobiography of R. G. LeTourneau, it is clear that important areas where he made great impact include the use of rubber tires, great improvements in scrapers, development of low pressure heavy duty tires, electrical wheel drive as well as drilling platforms.(1972).
LeTourneau Technologies Inc estimates that over 70% of all the earth moving equipment used in the Second World War was supplied by LeTourneau. He is also a pioneer of many manufacturing as well as the development of specialized tools during the same time. LeTourneau is also respected for his efforts of trying to instill knowledge both theoretical as well as practical. His establishment of a technical as well as mechanical training which was blended with the Christianity values since 1946 continues to be of significant impact to many. Today the institute has advanced to be LeTourneau University.
He was a strong Christian as can be seen in the positions he held. He was not only a layman in church but also the president of Christian Business Men’s Association and the International Gideon Society. Instead of leading a highlife like other successful business men do, he moved across the globe spreading Christianity values. To him, God came first and in fact he devoted a large proportion of his earnings to God’s work. Due to his remarkable contribution in engineering he acquired numerous awards and honors.
According to LeTourneau Technologies Inc, he led a quite and humble lifestyle but his deeds spoke loudly about him. He maintained a good relationship with his employees. The success of his efforts can be linked with his devotion to work closely with other engineers to produce quality work. Again, he seemed to enjoy working in the field like operating the earthmoving equipments than attending to corporate issues as the president of his establishment.
As the years passed on, he turned 77 and for efficiency of the company he gave the presidency to his son. He however did not tire looking for new and more efficient and effective ways of transporting large loads. Robert Gilmore LeTourneau succumbed to a severe stroke in 1969 at the age of 80 but even in death his legacy will last for years. (LeTourneau Technologies Inc).
LeTourneau, R. G. 1972. Mover of men and mountains; the autobiography of R. G. LeTourneau. Moody Press.
LeTourneau Technologies Inc. R. G. LeTourneau (1888-1969)
Retrieved on 24th May 2008 from http://www.letourneau-inc.com/about/RG_bio.htm
R.G. LeTourneau Online Museum. R. G. LeTourneau (1888-1969). Retrieved on 24th May 2008 from
Orlemann Eric C. 2001. LeTourneau Earthmovers. MBI Publishers.