Our story

Manufacturing precision-built access solutions for virtually every industry since 1981.

Forged from a tradition of excellence in engineering

On July 25, 1944, just a month shy of his eighteenth birthday, young J.M. Lapeyre filed his first patent for a shrimp peeling machine that would revolutionize how his father, the founder of Grand Caillou Packing Company, did business. The patent was issued in 1947, and in 1949, J.M., along with his father Emile and uncle Fernaud, founded Peelers, Incorporated, which later became Laitram Corp.The shrimp peeler was the first of more than 100 pioneering inventions born in the mind of J.M. Lapeyre, leading his contemporaries to consider him the most complete engineer with whom they had ever associated. It was this native acumen and sharp perception that led to the development of the alternating tread stair.

A stair is born

By 1978, J.M. had been named the president of Laitram Corp, and it was during this time that he applied his pioneering mindset to a problem that had been plaguing ships, oil rigs, and factories for decades.

The observant J.M. noted the difficulty a workman had navigating the stairs of an offshore oil rig while carrying equipment. Always intrigued by a challenge, J.M. went home, dusted his feet with talcum powder, and proceeded to trace his natural gait while descending the stairs of his own home.

That simple experiment revealed the inherent inefficiencies of the traditional staircase. For every step, only half of each tread was used with the pattern alternating from left to right. J.M. realized that he could build a safer, more compact stair design by removing the unused half of each tread, providing a straight, direct line from one tread to the next.

The change in design resulted in the space-saving Lapeyre Stair alternating tread stair, a space-saving device that provides more usable tread depth than vertical ladders. The innovative design allows for comfortable and secure forward-facing descents at steep angles while minimizing the overall footprint over a traditional staircase.

Our alternating tread stairs are now used in virtually every industry, allowing workers to easily and safely access crossovers, catwalks, and other tight spots that do not permit the use of standard stairs.

Laitram founder, J.M. Lapeyre, with two early-model alternating tread stairs. Lapeyre Stair following the issue of the alternating tread stair patent in 1981.



Features from J.M. Lapeyre's original patent drawings (top) are found in the current alternating tread stair design (bottom).

Commercial egress stair production facility.

Alternating tread stair and bolted access stair production facility.

Continuously elevating standards

Lapeyre Stair operates two, state-of-the-art production facilities fully dedicated to stair manufacturing. Our current product line includes bolted access stairs, commercial egress stairs, and, of course, alternating tread stairs. We also manufacture platforms, legs, and supports designed to easily integrate with our stair products into complete, custom systems. Every order we receive is custom built to meet the project specifications and to comply with the applicable code requirements. Our current manufacturing equipment line-up includes:

CNC robotic plasma for stair stringers and structural steel processing

Two high-definition plasma cutting tables for plate processing

Three press brakes for tread processing

CNC tube bender for handrails

CNC robotic plasma for handrail cutting and coping

CNC bar grate processing for grating stairs

We are committed to maintaining state-of-the-art facilities to ensure the quality of our products. All of our welders are certified to AWS D1.1 standard; we employ a full-time, certified, weld inspector to conduct 100% weld inspections; and have a 24-hour resolution policy for addressing issues.

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The next step in automation

Our commitment to continuous improvement extends beyond our automated manufacturing capabilities. We are currently developing stair design software called ESCHER™ to automate the time-consuming process of designing and detailing large-scale stair projects.

ESCHER™ will allow us to offer shorter design lead times and lower engineering costs on our commercial egress stair products. We are also developing a public version of ESCHER™ to help architects create code-compliant, manufacturable stair designs.

Want to join our team?

Lapeyre Stair is a division of Laitram, a forward-thinking company with an intense commitment to innovation, integrity, and continuous improvement. Current openings are posted at jobs.laitram.com.

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