- Clessie Cummins
Clessie Lyle Cummins (December 27, 1888 - August 17, 1968) was the founder of the Cummins Engine Co. He was an entrepreneur who improved on existing diesel engines, created new diesel engine designs, was awarded 33 United States patents for his inventions, and set five world records for endurance and speed for trucks, buses and race cars.
Cummins began his career as a rural Indiana farm boy, and had no formal higher education beyond the eighth grade. In the 1920s Cummins went to work for a banker named William Irwin in Columbus, Indiana, as a chauffeur and mechanic.
Foundation of Cummins Engine Co.
In 1919, Clessie Cummins founded the Cummins Engine Co, Inc (now Cummins, Inc). At the time of its founding, Cummins developed the first engine as licensee of R.M. Hvid Co. This engine was a 6 horsepower (4.5 kW) model designed for use on the farm.
Cummins' former employer, Irwin, invested a great deal of money in Cummins' company. However, Irwin was not satisfied with the company's profits and threatened to cease investing. Sales of diesel engines to farmers through the Sears-Roebuck catalog were not generating significant profits, partially because farmers would purchase and use the engines during the harvest period and then return them to Sears.
Clessie Cummins secured a Packard limousine (a vehicle with a large engine compartment) and fitted one of his best engines into it with 3/8-inch to spare. He and an assistant drove the vehicle to the 1929 auto show in New York City using $1.39 worth of diesel fuel. The pair arranged for publicity along the way, but when they arrived at the show they found that they had been banned from any presentation. Cummins proceeded to rent space across the street from the Auto Show, and the "$1.39 for fuel, Indy to NYC" auto become a popular feature of the show (despite not technically being included in it).
During the 1920s, many of the company's engines were used in yachts -- a market that vanished during the Great Depression of the 1930s. At that time, his employer and patron, Will Irwin, owned a controlling interest in the Purity Supreme supermarket chain, in California. Cummins convinced Irwin to install diesel engines in the fleet of trucks used to deliver food and staples to the stores. The diesel trucks were far better at managing the California mountains than the gasoline engines of that time, and were much more durable and economical to run. The success at Purity Supreme attracted considerable attention, and the over-the-road diesel truck industry thus came into being. Thereafter, the growth of Cummins Engine came mainly from supplying high-speed, high-torgue engines, which buyers specified for installation in semi-trailer tractors from most of the major manufacturers.
Cummins' times with the engine company continued to be tumultuous even after this success, but money was being made. Cummins' first successful engine design, the Model F [(1924)], was originally used for marine applications, but came to be used in other applications. In 1931 Cummins entered the Indianapolis 500 with a self-built (3,389 pound, 361 cubic-inch) four cylinder, three-valve, 85 horsepower (63 kW), Model U marine diesel that he installed into Model A Duesenberg. The Cummins Duesy averaged 86 miles per hour (138 km/h) and completed the race on 1 tank of fuel, without any pit stops! [Car & Driver Magazine. October 2003]
World War II ensured the success of the fledgling company: the American military bought every diesel engine which could be produced in preparation for an Allied invasion of continental Europe. But it was the post-war sale of truck engines that contributed most to the company's subsequent growth.
In 1955, Cummins had to leave the company he created, retiring from the position of Chairman. He had managed to hold onto some key patents and formed Cummins Enterprises Company later that year. He moved on to work for the Allison Engine Company in California.
Clessie Cummins continued to innovate until his death on August 17, 1968. He identified the problem of vehicle brakes overheating and becoming non-functional during long, steep downhill descents. As a result, he designed and patented the first compression release engine brake. The design was first offered to Cummins but Jacobs was ultimately the company with which he partnered. In 1954, the product was and still is sold under the Jake Brake name by Jacobs Vehicle Systems, Inc. As he approached eighty years of age, he designed, built, and ran in his basement shop a new concept engine.
On February 22, 2007, Clessie Cummins was inducted into the Central Indiana Business Hall of Fame.
His son, Clessie Lyle Cummins Jr. has written several books, for example
A. Internal fire
B. Diesel's engine
Sometimes, Clessie Lyle Cummins Jr.'s name is just written as Clessie Lyle Cummins.
- My days with the diesel: The memoirs of Clessie L. Cummins, father of the highway diesel, by Clessie L Cummins.
- Diesel Odyssey of Clessie Cummins, by Lyle Cummins.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Cummins (disambiguation) — Cummins, Inc. is a manufacturer of diesel and natural gas engines. Engines include: Cummins B Series engine Cummins C Series engine Cummins L Series engine Cummins M Series engine Cummins may also refer to: Contents 1 Places … Wikipedia
Cummins Engine — Cummins Inc. Rechtsform Incorporated Gründung 1919 Sitz Columbus (Indiana), USA Leitung Theodore Tim Solso, Chairman CEO Joe Loughrey, COO Jean Blackwell, CFO … Deutsch Wikipedia
Cummins Inc. — Cummins Inc. Unternehmensform Incorporated Gründung 1919 Unternehmenssitz Columbus (Indiana), USA … Deutsch Wikipedia
Cummins — This article is about the diesel engine manufacturer. For other uses, see Cummins (disambiguation). Cummins Inc. Type Public S P 500 Component Traded as NYSE: … Wikipedia
Diesel engine — Diesel engines in a museum Diesel generator on an oil tanker … Wikipedia
Columbus, Indiana — City Nickname(s): Athens of the Prairie … Wikipedia
History of the diesel car — The Mercedes Benz 260D. Production diesel car history started in 1933  with the Citroën Rosalie, which featured a diesel engine option (the 1766 cc 11UD engine) in the Familiale (estate or station wagon) model … Wikipedia
1930 — This article is about the year 1930. For the Merzbow album, see 1930 (album). Millennium: 2nd millennium Centuries: 19th century – 20th century – 21st century Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s – 193 … Wikipedia
List of companies named after people — This is a list of companies named after people. For other lists of eponyms (names derived from people) see Lists of etymologies.#* 20th Century Fox – William FoxA* A M Records – Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss * A W Restaurants – after Roy Allen and… … Wikipedia
Fuel injection — Fuel rail connected to the injectors that are mounted just above the intake manifold on a four cylinder engine. Fuel injection … Wikipedia