Richard E. LeBlond (1900-1995)
LeBlond entered the Naval Academy at Annapolis by competitive examination. In the middle of his third year, the signing of the treaty limiting the size of the Navy forced most of the class to resign. He transferred to Purdue, graduating in mechanical engineering in 1922. He immediately went to work for The R. K. LeBlond Machine Tool Co., which had been founded by his father. He started as a lathe hand and worked in various departments until he became Works Manager. He led the company from 1940 to 1965, producing lathes for large caliber guns during the war and, after the war, developing automated lathes to machine the line and pin bearings of crankshafts. Development contracts with General Electric produced the first continuous-path numerically controlled lathe in 1960 and a low-cost NC lathe with threading capability in 1964. Precision NC lathes for jet-engine components were assembled and tested in a controlled environment.