A look back: Lufkin Industries

A look back: Lufkin Industries
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Picture it, 1902; a small company, then called the Lufkin Foundry and Machine Company moved to town with plans to take the sawmill industry by storm.

"There was a need for a local foundry to build new equipment as well as service broken equipment," said Jonathan Gerland, Executive Director at The History Center.

And the growing company met and exceeded that need, so much so that they expanded to the oil and pumping unit business that their known for today. And with that;

"They changed from Lufkin Foundry and Machine Company to Lufkin Industries to reflect the broader diversity of the business and their products," Gerland said.

In present day, GE Oil & Gas has played a large role in the Lufkin community, and Gerland said it's been that way since the beginning.

"It's always been a vital part of not just Lufkin the city, but all of Angelina County and even beyond. Of course the business eventually grew way outside of even Texas," Gerland said.

From California to Russia and many places in between all displaying this familiar logo.

"Well I think it gave significant pride to the employees and the people that made up the company. It was another one of our home-grown businesses, if you will, that started with local families using local labor to provide local needs," Gerland said.

And it's that significant pride which led to the beginning of one very popular Deep East Texas tradition.

"It just grew out of the idea of envisioning it that way, you know, just add some antlers, and paint the tip of the jack red, with the beams to look like legs of a deer," Gerland said.

In 2013, General Electric bought Lufkin Industries and with that came slight concern.

"A little hesitation, some doubt, some wonder, but at the same time a lot of expectation and hopes," Gerland said.

And now with the foundry closing, it's time to write Lufkin's next chapter.

" It's just going to be tough to actually do it, it's easier said than done. But that's part of our history too, is being able to rebound and to adapt and change," Gerland said.

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