GREENE, N.Y.— Christian D. Gibson, the inventor of the first narrow aisle forklift truck, died on January 22 at the age of 89. To his colleagues at The Raymond Corporation, he was simply "Chris." To the warehousing industry, his contributions were legendary.
"Chris's passing marks a sad day in the history of the materials handling business," said James J. Malvaso, president and CEO of The Raymond Corporation. "His contributions formed a foundation for the success of this company and changed the way businesses think about warehousing."
In 1943, Gibson joined the company known today as The Raymond Corporation. He moved to Greene to become the first professional engineer to be hired by company founder George G. Raymond Sr.
With his professional training and talent, and support from Raymond Sr., Gibson designed, and the company manufactured, the first narrow aisle truck in North America in 1949. This concept revolutionized the materials handling industry and brought about tremendous space savings by reducing warehouse floor space devoted to aisles and increasing available storage space.
In 1951, Gibson and Raymond Sr. were granted a patent on the power-driven, narrow aisle materials handling truck, called the Model 700 Spacemaker. By 1953, The Raymond Corporation had manufactured 1,000 of the new trucks. The principle of this first patent is still being applied today wherever palletized goods are handled around the world.
Over his 36 years of service at The Raymond Corporation, Gibson continued to design lift trucks for the company and was granted more than 200 patents.
Gibson retired in 1983, but continued to work with The Raymond Corporation as a consultant until he moved to Houston, TX in October, 2002.
The Raymond Corporation is a leading North American provider of materials handling solutions that improve space utilization and productivity, with lower cost of operation and greater operator acceptance.