Ralph Kraut (1908-1985)
Born in Chicago, Kraut moved to Fond du Lac when his father went to work for Giddings & Lewis. He started as an indentured apprentice at G&L, then got his BSME at Wisconsin, worked as a production engineer at A. 0. Smith, then spent four years at General Electric as a student engineer, later working in inspection and experimental, sales and advertising, accounting, and finally as a traveling auditor. In 1935 he returned to G&L as assistant works manager.
An active reservist, he served in the infantry during World War II first as a Captain, served in the Pacific with the X Corps, then was G-3 of the 6th Division during the invasion of the Phillipines during which he was promoted to Lt Col. Immediately after V-J Day he returned to G&L as President. Under Kraut, G&L pioneered in NC, working with GE to produce the first NC skin mill, and signing a research contract with MIT immediately after MIT completed the original contract for the Air Force. G&L soon developed its own controls. He greatly broadened the firm's operations, acquiring Cincinnati Bickford, Kaukauna Machine, Kelly Reamer, Prescott, Gisholt, and Gilman in the US and Fraser in Scotland.