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Marathon Manufacturing Company: A Closer Look

LeTourneau University - R.G. LeTourneau Museum

Sound | c. 1980s

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TAMI Tags
  •  Marathon’s primary product: the jack-up rig 
  •  Contributions to materials handling and metal products 
  •  Secret ingredient: the electric wheel 
  •  Worldwide parts and maintenance network 
  •  Marathon’s diversified industries group 
 
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This promotional film, produced by Film Communications, highlights the work of the Houston-based Marathon Manufacturing Company, also known as Marathon LeTourneau Company. (Marathon purchased R.G. LeTourneau, Inc. in 1970.) The film gives an overview of the company’s three main sectors of production: marine construction, materials handling and metal products, and diversified industries like consumer products. In its survey, the film also features Marathon’s most popular products and inventions, including their array of jack-up oil rigs for offshore drilling, the electric wheel, and airplane batteries.
Robert Gilmore LeTourneau was born on November 30, 1888 in Richford, Vermont. An inventor and entrepreneur, he established R.G. LeTourneau, Inc., an earthmoving equipment manufacturing company, in California in 1929. The business expanded throughout the 1930s and 1940s, opening factories in locations including Longview, Texas. The Longview factory ultimately became the company’s headquarters. Securing nearly 300 patents, LeTourneau was responsible for the invention and development of numerous earthmoving machines and manufacturing processes, from the industry’s use of rubber tires to the electric wheel drive system. In 1966, LeTourneau’s son Richard took over the presidency of the company, now known as LeTourneau Technologies. 
 
In addition to his work as an equipment engineer and manufacturer, LeTourneau was also a devout Christian and a philanthropist. In 1946, he and his wife Evelyn founded the LeTourneau Technical Institute in Longview to provide technical and mechanical training as well as classroom instruction. The institution became LeTourneau College in 1961 and LeTourneau University in 1989. The school now offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, including engineering, aeronautics, business, education, and nursing. 
 
R. G. LeTourneau passed away on June 1, 1969 after suffering a severe stroke. He was 80 years old.