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50,000th crane rolled out at Grove Worldwide

December 17, 1997

by Kevin G. Gilbert / staff photographer

50,000th crane rolled out at Grove Worldwide

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

SHADY GROVE, Pa. - Grove Worldwide workers rolled out the company's 50,000th crane on Wednesday, a landmark the founders could not have imagined back in 1947.

"I guess it's something you can never know about. You just start up and get it going. Maybe hard work had something to do with it," said John L. Grove, who was not at Wednesday's ceremony. Grove, his brother, Dwight L. Grove and their partner, Wayne A. Nicarry started the company.

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Grove Manufacturing Co. started in a rented two-car garage in Shady Grove, making farm wagons. It was bought by Kidde Inc. in 1967.

John L. Grove went on to establish JLG Industries Inc., in McConnellsburg, Pa., with Paul K. Shockey. Today JLG and Grove Manlift, one of Grove's three operating divisions, compete in the aerial work platform market.

Serial No. 86364, a yellow, 65-ton behemoth that's headed to a dealer in New Orleans, was the object of considerable attention Wednesday by company bigwigs and a dozen first-shift final assembly workers. The workers stood on the rig and posed for a company photographer.

The crane will sell for about $500,000, said company spokesperson Doug Zoerb.

About 100 feet away in the same lot stood a 150-ton, six-axle model in primer paint. That crane, still not the biggest made by Grove, will sell for about $1 million, Zoerb said.

The largest Grove cranes, weighing about 200 tons, are made in a company plant in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, said Joseph A. Shull, president and CEO of the Grove Crane division.

Grove makes more than 55 crane models, including rough-terrain, truck-mounted, all-terrain, hydraulic lattice boom, industrial and crawler-mounted telescoping boom. Grove Manlift makes about 40 aerial lift models.

About 35 percent of Grove's business is overseas, Shull said. In addition, many cranes made by Grove plants in England and Germany are sold in the United States, he said. Grove is the fifth-largest customer for the Port of Baltimore, he said.

Grove made its first commercial crane in 1952. Thirteen years later it shipped out its 1,000th crane. In 1968 the 3,000th crane made a company milestone and by 1979 the company had reached 20,000 units.

Earlier this year, Grove signed an open-ended contract with the federal government to build 180 cranes for the Army and the Army Reserves for $40 million. Shull said more cranes will be added to the contract, but he didn't know how many.

In 1987, all of Kidde's holdings, including Grove, were bought by Hanson Trust PLC of the United Kingdom.

This year Grove celebrated its 50th anniversary and also went on the market. Robert C. Stift, chairman and chief executive officer for Grove Worldwide, said there is no news on the status of negotiations.

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