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John L Grove showing his original JLG 1 boomlift at a trade show
John L. Grove showing his original JLG 1 boomlift at a trade show.

JLG Marks 50 Year Anniversary of John L. Grove’s First Lift

JLG Industries officially kicked off its year-long 50th anniversary celebration today, marking a half-century since its founder John L. Grove spearheaded the access industry with the introduction of the world’s first boomlift, commonly referred to as JLG 1.

On Jan. 9, 1969, Grove rallied a small group of people around a safer way to work at height with the introduction of the first aerial work platform. Grove’s passion for safety and his pioneering spirit continue for more than 5,000 JLG employees worldwide.

“Fifty years is a remarkable milestone for both JLG and the access industry,” said Frank Nerenhausen, JLG president. “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.”

Since its introduction of the first commercially produced aerial work platform, JLG has claimed many access industry firsts, including oscillating axles for boom and scissorlifts in 1981, the only fuel-cell powered boomlift in 1999, the first environmentally friendly 60-foot electric boomlift in 2000, and the first straight boomlift to reach 150 feet in 2011. The company surpassed its own record in 2014 with the introduction of a 185-foot model 1850SK, the world’s tallest self-propelled boomlift. In the same year, JLG introduced the first “true” hybrid diesel/electric boomlift, the H340AJ.

“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 jobsites, one realizes how remarkable John L. Grove’s advancement was. His accomplishment gives all JLG employees a tremendous sense of pride.”

Grove was a skilled inventory, a savvy businessman and a hard-working individual, driven by the pursuit of perfect in his products. According to an excerpt from the book The Life and Legacy of John L. Grove, 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.”

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

Grove formed JLG Industries with an inner circle of three investing partners, and within a few years, developed a unique product that filled a void in the construction industry. Today JLG is represented on five continents, with manufacturing facilities in the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Romania, Australia and China.

The company’s portfolio has expanded to include hydraulic and electric drive scissorlifts, telescopic handlers, vertical lifts and a wide range of low-level access solutions. In addition to products, JLG offers after-sale parts, service and training to enhance safety improvements on jobsites.

To learn more about JLG’s 50-year history, visit

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