About Lapeyre Stair

Lapeyre Stairs: forged from a tradition of excellence in engineering

J.M. Lapeyre

On July 25, 1944, just a month shy of his eighteenth birthday, young J.M. Lapeyre filed his first patent for a shrimp peeling machine that would revolutionize how his father, the founder of Grand Caillou Packing Company, did business. The patent was issued in 1947, and in 1949, J.M. along with his father Emile and uncle Fernand founded Peelers, Incorporated, which later became Laitram Corp.

The shrimp peeler was the first of more than 100 pioneering inventions born in the mind of J.M. Lapeyre, leading his contemporaries to consider him the most complete engineer with whom they had ever associated. It was this native acumen and sharp perception that led to the development of the alternating tread stair.

A stair is born

By 1978, J.M. had been named the president of Laitram Corp, and it was during this time that he applied his pioneering mindset to a problem that had been plaguing ships, oil rigs, and factories for decades.

The observant J.M. noted the difficulty a workman had navigating the stairs of an offshore oil rig while carrying equipment. Always intrigued by a challenge, J.M. went home, dusted his feet with talcum powder, and proceeded to trace his natural gait while descending the stairs of his own home.

That simple experiment revealed the inherent inefficiencies of the traditional staircase. For every step, only half of each tread was used with the pattern alternating from left to right. J.M. realized that he could build a safer, more compact stair design by removing the unused half of each tread, providing a straight, direct line from one tread to the next.

The change in design resulted in the space­saving Lapeyre® stair, a unique alternating tread staircase that provides more usable tread depth than vertical ladders. This pragmatic arrangement allows for comfortable and secure face­forward descents at steep angles while minimizing the overall footprint of the traditional staircase.

Over 40,000 Lapeyre® stairs and climbing

Today, more than 40,000 space­saving Lapeyre® stairs are in use around the world, allowing workers to easily and safely access crossovers, catwalks, and other tight spots that don’t permit the use of conventional staircases.

At the company's headquarters in Harahan, Louisiana, industrial and commercial metal egress stairs are carefully designed and custom­built to fit specific height and building code requirements. To further tailor projects, clients choose from a variety of material options for stair handrails, stringer, and treads.

Once dimensionsional prints and finishes are approved, Lapeyre fabricates their pre­engineered steel egress stairs and ships them to the project site for installation, saving clients time and money in the process. Customers are able to simplify the stair design and installation process and focus on higher priority areas of the project when they partner with Lapeyre Stair, a dedicated stair manufacturer.