Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

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Lehman Brothers Collection

Twentieth-Century Business Archives

De Laval Turbine Inc. - Lehman Brothers Collection

De Laval Turbine Inc.

List of Deals

De Laval Turbine was incorporated under the laws of New Jersey in May 1901. It operated under the name of De Laval Steam Turbine until 1962, when it became De Laval Turbine.

The De Laval turbine was one of three types of turbines in use during the early part of the century. The De Laval, named after the inventor Gustaf De Laval, used the impulse method, whereby jets of stream were caused to discharge against a row of buckets or blades revolving at high velocity.

The company employed 1,100 by 1936. It was now manufacturing steam turbines as well as other products, such as centrifugal and rotary pumps, blowers, reduction gears, and worm gears.

In 1941, during World War II, the U.S. Maritime Commission chose De Laval along with three other manufacturers of turbines and gears to help outfit its newest phase of ship construction, a fleet of 566 merchant vessels.

Sales were flat in the postwar years. The company lost nearly a quarter of million dollars on sales of $10.8 million in 1947. Three years later sales were at $10.1 million, with a net loss of $425,775. Sales began to rebound after 1950. In 1952 sales were $23.8 million and the company broke a record after earning $1 million. Much of this growth was attributed to orders from the U.S. military, such as an order received in 1953 for two main propulsion units of 20,000 horsepower each for Navy destroyer escorts.

By 1955 De Laval had sales offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South and Central America, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Philippines, Israel, Formosa, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Trinidad, and Spain.

De Laval received a contract valued at $4.5 million from the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships in 1958 to design and manufacture steam propulsion machinery for a nuclear powered submarine.

Sales reached $33.8 million in 1961 with a net income of $1.4 million.

The directors of De Laval agreed to sell the company's net assets for $11.6 million to an investment group headed by Lehman Brothers in 1962. At the time, more than half of the stock of De Laval was held by a Swedish company, A.B. Separator of Stockholm. It held several U.S. government contracts, including some for the propulsion machinery and turbine generators for Polaris submarines and guided missile frigates.

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