• A large, early generation narrow aisle lift truck at a Raymond facility in black and white.
  • An early generation Lyon Utility Truck, a patented 3-wheel platform designed for moving basket, totes and crates.
  • An early generation group of Raymond employees standing in a factory.
  • An early generation group of Raymond employees in a classroom setting.
  • An early photo of equipment in the Lyon Iron Works factory.

100 Years of Innovation.

In 1922, George Raymond Sr. moved his family to the village of Greene, New York, with a dream of revitalizing a faltering tool manufacturing company called Lyon Iron Works. The move was risky. But George Sr. had a plan and wasted no time getting started. The company that would become The Raymond Corporation went on to experience 100 years of extraordinary success and helped shape an entire industry. Here, we'll explore the journey from small-town upstart to industry leader — and the commitment to innovation that made it possible.

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The original Lyon Iron Works, later The Raymond Corporation, headquarters in Greene, New York with a horse drawn carriage and field in the foreground.

In the beginning, there is Lyon Iron Works.

The modest but vital operation is located on the Chenango Canal in Greene, New York, which allows barges to carry raw materials to the plant to forge into hardwood and iron products like sawmills and wrought-iron fencing.

Portrait of George Raymond Sr., founder of The Raymond Corporation, taken in Greene, New York.

In 1922, George Raymond Sr. moves upstate from Brooklyn and buys a controlling interest in Lyon Iron Works.

Here, he focuses on specific customer needs to grow the business, which helps create buckboards (essentially, dollies with cast-iron wheels) and the Lyon Utility Truck, a patented 3-wheel platform designed for moving baskets, totes and crates — products that eventually become the high-tech Raymond® lift trucks of the 21st century.

Group of Lyon Iron Works employees standing together in front of the operation that would go on to become The Raymond Corporation in Greene, New York.
Ben Spanle working on shaving the face of a customer at his barbershop in the basement of the Chenango House in Greene, New York, the sight of George Raymond Sr.'s inspiration for the first hydraulic lift truck.

During a trip to Ben Spanle's barbershop in the basement of the Chenango House (the current Sherwood Hotel) in Greene, New York, George Raymond Sr. has a spark of inspiration.

What if the hydraulic system used to raise and lower a regular barber chair is repurposed to lift and lower materials?

George Sr. rents the chair from the barber, brings it to his shop and is inspired to develop the first hydraulic lift truck.

Black-and-white photograph of the Lyon-Raymond Corporation's hydraulic lift truck advertisement from the 1930s
The inside of Ben Spanle's barbershop in the basement of the Chenango House in Greene, New York, the sight of George Raymond Sr.'s inspiration for the first hydraulic lift truck.
  • Black-and-white photograph of the Lyon-Raymond Corporation's double-faced wooden pallet and hand pallet truck from the 1930s
  • A black-and-white photograph of a hand pallet truck from the 1930s

In the mid-1930s, Lyon Iron Works experiences a flurry of innovation and growth.

During this time, George Raymond Sr. and William (Bill) House design and build the double-faced wooden pallet. Unlike the single-faced pallet, this new design, which is still standard in the 21st century, permits the high stacking of crushable goods. In 1936, George Sr. and Bill dream up the revolutionary L4P, the first hand pallet truck to transport their new double-faced pallets. The pallet and the L4P are both granted patents in 1939, but in a show of commitment to the industry, George Sr. donates the double-faced wooden pallet patent to the material handling industry.

Series of figures from various patents that engineer Christian (Chris) D. Gibson helped to develop during his colorful and innovative career at Raymond.
Black and white portrait of Raymond engineer Christian (Chris) D. Gibson writing on a note pad and holding a pipe.

Christian (Chris) D. Gibson, a professional engineer, is hired to help innovate new material handling equipment.

In 1947, he designs the agile L2P, which could lift 2,000 pounds higher than any of the other competitors. Chris is responsible for over 200 patents during his career at Raymond.

  • Material handling worker moving product in the 1940s
  • An employee of the Lyon-Raymond Corporation lifting a pallet of product in the 1940s
  • A black-and-white photograph of two employees of the Lyon-Raymond Corporation moving a pallet of product from the 1940s
  • Black-and-white photograph of an executive of the Lyon-Raymond Corporation sitting on a lift truck from the 1940s
  • A black-and-white photograph of a Raymond® lift truck from the 1940s

Harry Masserole, a grocery warehouse consultant, is convinced that wide aisle warehousing is costing the American industry millions of dollars in wasted space.

His solution? To narrow the aisles between the racks to increase the number of products in the same space. Masserole approaches the Lyon-Raymond Corporation with his idea, and George Raymond Sr. immediately sees the possibilities. Christian (Chris) D. Gibson is asked to bring the idea to life, which results in the very first electric narrow aisle lift truck, patented Aug. 14, 1951. Raymond continues to innovate in this area and develops the "straddle" design that preserves a lift truck's gravitational integrity by straddling the pallet with baselegs. Raymond quickly becomes known as "The Narrow Aisle People."

A forklift operator driving a Raymond narrow aisle lift truck towards a pallet.
George Raymond Sr. and George Raymond Jr. remove the Lyon-Raymond Corporation signage and point to a new The Raymond Corporation sign at the headquarters in Greene, New York.

George Raymond Sr., now the sole owner of the company, formally changes the name to The Raymond Corporation.

The sales reach $1 million, and there are over 4,000 customers; some are the largest companies in America. He proves innovation can take many forms by introducing profit sharing to his employees.

The company is represented in the United States and globally in more than 60 cities through a local dealership network. Two dealers — Werres and G.N. Johnston — still represent The Raymond Corporation in the 21st century.

  • Black-and-white image of The Voices of Raymond chorus group from the 1960s
  • News clipping of the Raymond chorus group from the 1960s
  • Black-and-white photograph of The Voices of Raymond chorus group performing

The Raymond chorus is formed when several employees with a shared passion for singing meet to pursue their interest.

The first group, 16 members strong, is known as The Voices of Raymond. The chorus sings at company, community and fundraising events. In 1970, the chorus releases a stereo album of music. The 100th-year celebration in 2022 brings back the group with both new and past members.

Listen to the chorus
Engineer compares patent figures with a live model of a Raymond walkie truck guided automatically be a wire in the floor.

The concept of self-driving vehicles is considered absurd by most. But one group of engineers is busy working on just that with IBM.

The Raymond Corporation realizes the practicality of automating material handling equipment and buys a controlling interest in the company Mobility Systems Inc. (MSI). The first innovation uses a Raymond® "walkie" truck guided automatically by a wire in a floor. MSI works with Raymond to develop a computer-controlled order picking truck in 1967.

Article written by George Raymond Jr., President of The Raymond Corporation, about Executive Management Techniques, and his featured portrait.

George Raymond Jr. pioneers a participative management philosophy at the company, something quite new to corporate America at the time.

The Raymond Corporation becomes a team effort, empowering employees throughout the whole organization.

Black-and-white image of George Raymond Jr. and fellow employees of The Raymond Corporation with the double-faced wooden pallet
  • Figure drawing of a modern warehouse operation, and the data that can be captured by the use of RAY-DATA for warehouse data tracking and optimization. A figure drawing of a modern warehouse operation after it has been optimized from the use of RAY-DATA.
  • Ray-Data advertisement from the 1970s

The Raymond Corporation takes a big leap into the future by embracing the newest computer technology to create customized solutions.

RAY-DATA uses the speed of computers to investigate individual material handling problems and provides the customer with an optimum handling system and warehouse layout.

A photograph of the very narrow aisle Swing-Reach® truck from the 1970

The Raymond Corporation builds the first very narrow aisle (VNA) Swing-Reach® truck in North America. VNA lift trucks operate in aisles less than 5 feet wide.

An image of the very narrow aisle Swing-Reach® truck in use during the 1970s
Several warehouse aisles and narrow aisle trucks with their operators at a modern-day Raymond facility.
  • Photograph of Raymond Parts Distribution Center, Greene, New York
  • Photograph of a worker in the Raymond Parts Distribution Center in the 1980s
  • Photograph of a worker of The Raymond Corporation operating equipment in the 1980s
  • Aerial photograph of The Raymond Corporation’s parts distribution facility in the 1980s

The Raymond Parts Distribution Center (PDC) opens in East Syracuse, New York. In 2022, more than 8 million parts are shipped annually with 24/7 service.

  • Advertisement for the ELECTOTE 55 from the 1980s
  • A photograph of the Raymond ELECTOTE automatic guided vehicle in the 1980s
  • A photograph of the Raymond ELECTOTE automatic guided vehicle in the 1980s

The Raymond Corporation introduces the ELECTOTE automatic guided vehicle.

This breakthrough advancement provides horizontal transportation for manufacturing, distribution and warehousing applications to free up the forklift operator for more productive activities. The need to repurpose labor through automation will hold true 40 years later.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

The Raymond Corporation commissions renowned designer Massimo Vignelli to update the Raymond logo.

Vignelli also has designed logos for several large companies. His work produces the distinct, signature look and identity of the Raymond logo that is used in the 21st century.

Photograph of equipment featuring a microprocessor-controlled drive system in the 1980s

The Raymond Corporation produces the first microprocessor-controlled drive system for lift trucks.

The patented intellidrive® system dramatically reduces the number of mechanical and electromechanical components in the lift truck. Soon the intellidrive is teamed up with another innovation, the Turbo Lift, a solid-state, electronically controlled lift system for reach trucks. This pairing results in the most productive interaction between operator and machine that the industry has ever seen.

Photograph of an F-4 Phantom fighter jet

The Raymond Corporation hires its first industrial design manager, Tom Noonan, not because he was once an ace fighter pilot but because he is now a top-notch industrial designer.

But his familiarity with the legendary F-4 Phantom fighter jet, especially its high-functioning control handles, provides him a unique perspective that he capitalizes on by asking, "What if we take that same fighter jet handle functionality and incorporate it into a lift truck?" The resulting control handle allows an operator to execute all the functions of a lift truck with just one hand.

Close-up shot of the joystick handles that can be found on a Raymond lift truck
Executives of The Raymond Corporation meet in a conference room in the 1990s

The Raymond Corporation develops the Dealer Alliance Recruiting and Training (D.A.R.T.) program.

This intensive 12-week program develops qualified professional material handling specialists who can assist customers to achieve their business objectives through the design and implementation of comprehensive material handling solutions.

The logo that was adopted upon the sale of The Raymond Corporation to BT Industries of Sweden.

The Raymond Corporation is sold to BT Industries of Sweden, making it an international company.

Raymond retains its own brand, products and distribution.

A grouping of three company logos that were combined upon the acquisition of BT Industries of Sweden by Toyota Industries of Japan including the Raymond Corporation, Toyota, and BT Industries.

Toyota Industries of Japan acquires BT Industries of Sweden.

The combination of The Raymond Corporation, BT Industries and Toyota now makes up the largest lift truck manufacturer in the world. Raymond continues to retain its own brand, products and distribution.

The Raymond Corporation operation in Muscatine, Iowa with a lawn and Raymond flags in the foreground in front of the building.

The Muscatine, Iowa, plant is added to the Raymond family.

All walkies and stackers are manufactured here.

Material handling employees operate lift trucks

The new century starts with the first AC-powered Reach-Fork® truck, introduced on the 50th anniversary of the first narrow aisle truck. The AC-powered truck improves productivity, increases work done per battery charge and reduces maintenance costs.

Raymond lift truck pictured
A Raymond AC-powered Reach-Fork® truck.

The Raymond® 5000 Series orderpicker is launched, combining superior versatility, intuitive handling and easy maintenance. This orderpicker immediately leads the industry with fast acceleration and smoother lifting and lowering via a patented actuator.

Video thumbnail with employee operating a Raymond® lift truck

The Raymond Corporation introduces the iWAREHOUSE® Fleet and Warehouse Optimization System, which is capable of sending real-time information about each lift truck in a warehouse right to a computer desktop. iWAREHOUSE expands over the years and, in 2022, provides a whole range of intelligent technology solutions to collect, optimize, monitor, secure and control assets and enable workers.

ACR system shown inside a Raymond lift truck

The patented Hydraulic Regeneration System for lift trucks provides regen by recovering energy from the hydraulic system to power the electrically operated components.

Two Raymond team members work together on the iWAREHOUSE Labor Management System.

The Raymond Corporation introduces the iWAREHOUSE® Labor Management System (LMS), which offers greater visibility into the operational workforce — optimizing productivity and minimizing costs.

LMS integrates data from a variety of sources, so you can track and measure work activity to drive continuous improvement and gain a more complete picture of your business.

The Raymond Courier, an automated guided vehicle, works to lift materials without the need for an operator.

The Raymond Corporation introduces the Raymond Courier automated guided vehicles, including pallet, tow tractor and stacker lift trucks.

They are easy-to-implement, vision-guided solutions that are operational from Day 1. Workers are freed up to take on more productive activities, benefiting the customer with more efficient, flexible and scalable operations.

Video thumbnail featuring image of the Radioshuttle® semi-automated, high-density pallet racking system

The Raymond Corporation — continuing to find flexible, high-density storage solutions — offers the Radioshuttle®.

This semi-automated, high-density pallet racking system increases operational efficiency and maximum use of warehouse space.

Raymond employee wheels materials through a high density storage warehouse facility in black and white.
Video thumbnail featuring image from Raymond's Virtual Reality Simulator

The Raymond Corporation introduces the Virtual Reality (VR) Simulator to help train new and existing forklift operators.

This allows trainees to experience a simulated warehousing environment that provides an immersive experience for operators and, for trainers, the ability to provide immediate feedback. This leading-edge and highly impactful learning tool has won many awards, including the 2019 Edison Award for Best New Product, IFOY Award for Best in Intralogistics and Fast Company's Most Innovative Company. The VR Simulator complements Raymond's Safety On The Move®, a comprehensive forklift training program that was developed in 1992.

A man places product on the Raymond Pick2Pallet LED Light system, which will direct operators where to place picked products through colored light cues in tandem with voice picking solutions.

Aiming to streamline workflows, The Raymond Corporation introduces Raymond Advance Operator Assist technology, which reduces low-level picking redundancies and operator fatigue for greater efficiency and productivity. It also can be coupled with the patented Pick2Pallet LED light system, which will direct operators where to place picked products through colored light cues in tandem with voice picking solutions.

Video thumbnail featuring graphic design and "The Energy of Things" video title

The need for energy-efficient solutions is more pressing than ever, and The Raymond Corporation responds by developing a line of groundbreaking lithium-ion batteries. These batteries allow for continuous data exchange between the Raymond® lift truck and the battery, providing full visibility into the battery's state of charge, fault codes and necessary maintenance in real time.

A Raymond Automated Transtacker (TRT) working in aisle in a warehouse.

Forty-one years after introducing the unique Transtacker (TRT) to address the need for even narrower aisles, The Raymond Corporation introduces an automated version.

The Raymond® Automated Transtacker (TRT) is available in a dual-mode (operator on/off) solution that combines the space- and labor-saving benefits of automated storage and retrieval systems with the flexibility to change aisles when needed.

The very narrow aisle design and dual-application versatility provide full pallet handling and case picking and make this lift truck the ultimate solution for high-density, high-selectivity storage environments.

The Raymond Corporation has grown into a leading global company. The dealers George Raymond Jr. introduced in the 1940s have evolved to Solutions and Support Centers. There are now 20 Solutions and Support Centers in North America servicing over 100 key North American markets with representation in 41 countries. The Raymond Corporation has three primary facilities:

  • Overhead view of the Raymond operation in Greene, New York, with parking lot in foreground and facility and hills in the distance.

    Greene, New York

    Offices and manufacturing
    2,001 employees
    630,000-square-foot facility

  • Ground level view of the Raymond operation in Muscatine, Iowa, with lawn in the foreground and Raymond flags and building in the distance.

    Muscatine, Iowa

    434 employees
    180,000-square-foot facility

  • Street level view of the Raymond operation in Syracuse, New York, with street and driveway in the foreground and the building in the distance.

    Syracuse, New York

    267 employees
    269,000-square-foot facility

If the last 100 years has taught us anything, it's that there are few things more powerful than a creative mind coupled with an audacious spirit.

This mix of innovation and audacity has allowed The Raymond Corporation, time and again, to not only imagine the future but also bring that future to life. And with that spirit still as strong as ever, there's no reason why the next 100 years can't contain countless innovations — some that are being dreamed up at this very moment and others still too distant to even imagine.

  • Black-and-white photograph of George Raymond Jr., his wife and eight employees of The Raymond Corporation
  • Image of a handling employee operating Raymond® equipment
  • Image of modern Raymond® equipment
  • Image of a material handling employee operating Raymond® equipment
  • Employees of Raymond standing outside a building and smiling for a company photo
  • Landmark Raymond innovations from the last 100 years on display
  • Raymond employees pose for photo as they cut ceremonial ribbon