Business: Piety & Profits

During the late 1920s a former iron molder, garage grease boy, machinist and farm hand named Robert Gilmour Le-Tourneau was making a modest living around Stockton, Calif., leveling farm lands and digging excavations with some machinery he had put together. One night he attended a meeting of the Young People's Mission in Stockton. Full of inspiration, he went home to his drafting board, in no time had turned out a design for a power control unit which would co-ordinate the functions of his digging machine.

By 1932 his three-year-old firm of R. G. LeTourneau, Inc. was headed for the rocks after losing...

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