JLG Industries celebrates 50 years of innovation

JLG industries
John L. Grove, the founder of JLG Industries.

A half century ago, John L. Grove rallied a small group of people around the idea of creating a safer way to work at heights. And on Jan. 9, 1969, JLG Industries was born.

The idea came to life with the introduction of the first aerial work platform. Grove’s pioneering spirit continues to be carried out today by more than 6,000 JLG employees around the world.

This month, the company officially kicked off its year-long 50th anniversary celebration, marking a half-century since its founder spearheaded the access industry with the introduction of the world’s first boom lift, commonly referred to as JLG 1.
“Fifty years is a remarkable milestone for both JLG and the access industry,” said JLG President Frank Nerenhausen.

“Our founder not only started a company, but an entire industry. This is a key point of differentiation for the JLG brand. We continue to build on this legacy through continuous development of products, services and technology that advance safety for work at height.”

Industry firsts

Since the introduction of the first commercially produced aerial work platform, JLG has claimed many access industry firsts, including:

  • Oscillating axles for boom and scissor lifts in 1981.
  • The only fuel-cell powered boom lift in 1999.
  • The first 18 metre electric boom lift in 2000.
  • The first straight boom lift to reach 45.7 metres in 2011.

The company also surpassed its own record in 2014 with the introduction of a 56 metre model 1850SJ, the world’s tallest self-propelled boom lift. In the same year, JLG introduced the H340AJ, the first true hybrid diesel/electric boom lift.

“For more than 2,000 years, people used inefficient and dangerous methods to access work areas,” said Guru Bandekar, JLG vice president of global product management and development.

“So, when you think that a mere half-century ago no one had invented a way to safely elevate people on job sites, one realizes how remarkable John L. Grove’s advancement was. His accomplishment gives all JLG employees a tremendous sense of pride.”

John L. Grove was an inventor and a savvy businessman who was driven by the pursuit of perfection in the products that bear his initials.

A former employee once said, “You could show John L. Grove anything, even a fountain pen, and he could immediately tell you how to improve it,” according to an excerpt from the book The Life and Legacy of John L. Grove.

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“Grove’s inventive spirit continues to fuel product development at JLG,” Nerenhausen said.

“He blazed a trail that was never before traveled, and we mark 50 years with a steadfast focus on providing the industry with access equipment solutions that continue to bring his initial vision and purpose to life.”

JLG Industries origin

John L. Grove formed JLG Industries with only three investing partners, and within a few short years, developed a unique product that filled a void in the construction industry.

Today, JLG is represented across five continents, with manufacturing facilities in the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Romania, Australia and China.

While the boom lift marked the start of JLG, the company’s product portfolio has steadily expanded throughout the years to include a variety of award-winning hydraulic and electric drive scissor lifts, telescopic handlers, vertical lifts and a wide-range of low-level access solutions.