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John L. Grove

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John Landis Grove (January 26, 1921 – June 16, 2003)[1] is the co-founder of Grove Manufacturing Co. (now owned by Manitowoc Co.) and JLG Industries Inc. (now a subsidiary of Oshkosh Truck Corp.)[2] He is credited as being the inventor of the hydraulic telescoping crane boom, modern aerial work platform, and hydraulic rollback truck bed.[3]

Contents

[edit] History

[edit] The Education of John L. Grove

Grove was born in Antrim Township, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Greencastle High School, he enrolled at Drexel University. During his college years, he was employed by two companies. His first job was at Landis Machine and Tool Companies, where he worked as a machine operator. Following that, he worked on experimental steam hydraulics in the Research and Development Department at Westinghouse Electric Manufacturing.

[edit] Co-founding Grove Manufacturing Co.

When Grove returned to Franklin County in 1946, he and his brother Dwight established the Grove Bros. Company to manufacture rubber-tired farm wagons out of a two-car garage. During this post-war era, the demand for wagons was high, as very little farm equipment had been produced during World War II; Grove Bros. gained rapid success.[4] The following year, the brothers took on another partner, Wayne Nicarry, and incorporated the company, whose name was changed to Grove Manufacturing Co.

[edit] The Invention of Grove Cranes

The wagon manufacturing business required large amounts of steel to be lifted and moved. Taking this into consideration, Grove developed a crane to assist in crane building tasks, lessening the amount of manpower needed. Grove’s industrial yard crane, in contrast to the era’s commonly used mechanical cranes, was the industry's first successful hydraulic model.[5] The machine had a two-ton capacity, and was mounted on a three-wheel frame. It was steered by single rear wheel, and was propelled by two front wheels.[6] These cranes, initially invented for the company’s personal use, were being noticed and gaining popularity. By 1952, Grove cranes were being sold to the public. While Dwight was responsible for the agricultural products division, John managed the cranes. The crane division continued to expand, and by the end of the decade, Grove was producing four-wheel drive, rough terrain cranes and truck mounted cranes. Within two decades, Grove Manufacturing was known as the world’s leading developer of hydraulic telescopic cranes. [7]

[edit] Developing the Rollback Truck Bed

Though the hydraulic crane was one of the most significant developments for Grove, it was not his sole creation. In the early 1960s, Grove assisted in the design of a rollback truck body for a company owned by Henry Forsythe. These truck beds, still in use today, were designed to literally roll back, using hydraulics to tilt, so tractors and other equipment could easily be driven or hydraulically pulled onto them.[8] Later, Forsythe sold his business to Grove Manufacturing.

[edit] Leaving Grove Manufacturing

In 1967, Grove Manufacturing was sold to a New Jersey-based company known as Kidde, Inc. Kidde eventually sold the agricultural farm wagons and rollback truck beds to Jerr-Dan Corp. Though Dwight Grove and Wayne Nicarry remained at the company after the acquisition, John Grove was interested in new challenges.[9]

[edit] Revolutionizing Work Platforms

After leaving the company he co-founded, Grove began searching for new untapped markets. He set out on a cross-country road trip with his wife Cora in their R.V. Over the course of the trip, Grove visited with many old associates. These conversations, in addition to an incident in which two workers were electrocuted on scaffolding at the Hoover Dam during the Groves’ visit, served as motivation for Grove—he recognized a market for safer lift platforms than the scaffolding and ladders that were in use at the time.[10] Upon returning from his road trip, Grove formed a partnership with his friend, Paul Shockey,[11] and purchased a steel fabrication business, establishing JLG Industries in 1969.[12] The following year, a team of twenty workers had accomplished the manufacture and sale of the first JLG aerial work platform, designed to safely lift construction workers and their materials.[13] Grove’s developments during his years at JLG are believed to have enabled “safe and secure height access around the world”.[14] Today, JLG, from which Grove retired in 1993, is described as the world leader in the production of telehandlers, telescopic hydraulic excavators, and mobile aerial work platforms.[15]

[edit] Grove’s Other Endeavors

Though Grove’s most widely known accomplishments revolve around equipment production, he was responsible for other unrelated projects throughout his life. In the mid-1960s, Grove founded another company, the Falling Spring Corp, and built the first hotel, a Howard Johnson’s, in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.[16] Today, Falling Spring Corporation owns four hotels. Grove, though known as a business-minded individual, is also described as a philanthropist. He donated a substantial sum of money to Shippensburg University, whose business school is now named in his honor. Additionally, he founded the John L. Grove Medical Center in Greencastle, Pennsylvania.

[edit] Recognition of Grove’s Accomplishments

In 1993, Grove was inducted into the Construction Equipment Hall of Fame for the application of hydraulics to mobile construction and industrial equipment.[17] He was also given the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.[18]

[edit] References

  1. Resolution in Memoriam - John L. Grove. Council Meeting Minutes, July, 2003. (accessed: 2008-09-29)
  2. The life and legacy of John L. Grove. ForkliftAction.com, December, 2006. (accessed: 2008-09-29)
  3. John L. Grove. Luhrs Center, 2008-09-29.
  4. Pfoutz, Yvonne. John L. Grove reflects on his business career. BNET.com, January, 2003. (accessed: 2008-09-29)
  5. Pfoutz, Yvonne. John L. Grove reflects on his business career. BNET.com, January, 2003. (accessed: 2008-09-29)
  6. Haddock, Keith. Crane maker to the world: J.L. Grove revolutionized the hydraulic-crane industry beginning with his first 2-ton model. BNET.com, July, 2004. (accessed: 2008-09-29)
  7. John L.Grove. Cool Stuff and the Incredible Feats of Construction, 2008-09-29.
  8. Transport Trailers. Revegetation Equipment Catalog, 2008-09-29.
  9. Pfoutz, Yvonne. John L. Grove reflects on his business career. BNET.com, January, 2003. (accessed: 2008-09-29)
  10. The JLG Story. JLG, 2008-09-29.
  11. Pfoutz, Yvonne. John L. Grove reflects on his business career. BNET.com, January, 2003. (accessed: 2008-09-29)
  12. Resolution in Memoriam - John L. Grove. Council Meeting Minutes, July, 2003. (accessed: 2008-09-29)
  13. The JLG Story. JLG, 2008-09-29.
  14. John L. Grove. Luhrs Center, 2008-09-29.
  15. John L. Grove. Luhrs Center, 2008-09-29.
  16. Pfoutz, Yvonne. John L. Grove reflects on his business career. BNET.com, January, 2003. (accessed: 2008-09-29)
  17. Pfoutz, Yvonne. John L. Grove reflects on his business career. BNET.com, January, 2003. (accessed: 2008-09-29)
  18. Pfoutz, Yvonne. John L. Grove reflects on his business career. BNET.com, January, 2003. (accessed: 2008-09-29)