Global Manufacturer of Nuts, Seafood and Vegetable Equipment
Laitram Machinery has been at the forefront of constant innovation since its inception. With a rich history spanning nearly 75 years, we have consistently pioneered cutting-edge shrimp-processing equipment, steam cookers, blanchers, pasteurizers, roasters and graders. These innovations stand as a testament to our commitment to enhancing efficiency and yield for processors globally. Our roots in perpetual innovation have allowed us to evolve and lead in providing high-performance solutions that redefine industry standards.
“I got my original idea, believe it or not, in church. When I was supposed to be praying, I was thinking about how to get the shrimp out of the shell… and I thought why not squeeze them out of the shell? And so when I got down to the plant the next time, I began to step just to the side of the shrimp with my rubber boots to see if I could not in fact squeeze the shell from the meat and... it worked.”
J.M. Lapeyre, 1982 television interview
“The present invention relates to improvements in shrimp peelers and has for an object generally the expeditious, inexpensive, commercial peeling of shrimp.” (Text from first patent).
Prior to 1949, all shrimp peeling, deveining, washing, and grading were done manually. This was an exhaustive, time-consuming and highly inefficient process that limited the potential for global growth and commercialization of the shrimp processing industry.
J.M. Lapeyre, even as a young boy, appreciated the challenges presented by these processing inefficiencies. While working summers in his father’s south Louisiana shrimp peeling plant, J.M. often thought of ways to automate the peeling process. During the summer of 1943, when he was just 16 years old, J.M. experimented with stepping on the sides of unpeeled shrimp with his rubber boots to see if he could “squeeze” the shrimp out of the shell without significantly damaging the meat.
After convincing himself that his initial idea could work, he refined his concept and proved his process by running unpeeled shrimp through the rubber rollers of his mother’s hand turned clothes washer/wringer… successfully pinching and pulling the shell off of the shrimp.
Over the next several years, young J.M. worked with his uncle to build a prototype incorporating J.M.’s concepts… the use of running water and mechanical pressure to feed a system of rollers that would pinch the shell from the shrimp. In 1949, J.M. joined his uncle and father to found Peelers, Inc. to manufacture and sell the first automated shrimp peeling machine, the Model “A” Peeler.
Since the introduction of that first peeler, tireless work has taken place to improve its design, increase its efficiencies and expand its abilities. During this time, the company went through numerous expansions and name changes, and now is Laitram Machinery.
Today, over 70 years later, shrimp processors in countries around the world continue to rely on Laitram Machinery to design, manufacture and service automated processing systems for peeling, deveining, grading, blanching, cooking and pasteurizing both warm and cold water shrimp. In sum, J.M.’s ideas and Laitram Machinery have served to revolutionize the shrimp processing industry, lowering the cost to the consumer and expanding the market for this abundant source of high protein.
The Lapeyre Automatic Shrimp Peeling Machine, Model 'A', No. 57
A National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark September 25, 2004 • Biloxi, Mississippi
This is the story of how members of the Lapeyre (sounds like “la pair”) family succeeded in doing just that, and in bringing about a revolution in the shrimp processing industry.