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Manufacturers Index - LeTarte Co., Inc.
Last Modified: May 16 2013 3:24PM by Jeff_Joslin
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In 1947, George Michael LeTarte and four sons—Joseph G., Edward, Frank M., and Walter G.—started this business as a tool and die operation. After dabbling in different fields, they settled on the window and door market where they supplied saws and associated equipment.

The business began in the basement of a farm house and then moved to an industrial building in East Detroit. In 1961 they moved North to Smiths Creek, where they remained until the business closed in 2000.

In the late 1950s they patented the Double Mitre saw, which became the company's flagship product. During the 1960s the company produced a full line of aluminum storm doors, to the tune of hundreds of doors per week; they continued to make the sawing machinery.

In the late '60s and early '70s, Edward and Frank left the company. Soft sales led to diversification efforts by the remaining brothers: tape dispenser, de-burring machines, de-bridging equipment, fully automatic miter saws, straight cut saws, and vacuum mills. Richard, Michael and Daniel LeTarte—sons of Walter—and Gene LeTarte—son of Frank—now formed the core manufacturing team. The 1980s, with double-digit inflation and an increase in product-liability lawsuits for virtually all manufacturers, were difficult times for the business. In 1986, Daniel left the company, soon followed by his two brothers. In the late 1980s the company was sold to a partnership interested in manufacturing perimeter fencing for the automation industry. In the late '90s, the principal partner died unexpectedly and the company was liquidated in 2000.

Information Sources

  • Thanks to Daniel LeTarte for providing a company history from which we condensed the version above.
  • For-sale listing of a LeTarte double miter saw on the Woodweb machinery exchange. The Model E-11 Econ-O-Mitre saw had a "Made in USA" sticker on it.
  • A 1987 patent was granted to Walter G. LeTarte of Goodells, MI, for a stock-feeding apparatus for a double cutoff saw. A bit more than a year earlier he received a patent related to spraying urethane foam into extruded metal frames. And 23 years before that, Frank M. LeTarte of Smiths Creek patented a glazing bead for a storm door.
  • The Dovebid.com site has an archived listing of the June 6, 2000 auction of the assets of LeTarte Company, 8801 Smith Creek Road, Smiths Creek, MI.
  • A government document lists LeTarte Co., Inc. as one who was negatively affected by the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA. They apparently applied for "Transactional Adjustment Assistance". The entry, under the heading of Affirmative Determinations NAFTA-TAA, reads, "Letarte Co., Inc., d/b/a L.C. Holding, Inc., Smiths Creek, MI: June 20, 1996."