About Us

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 Fernaud, 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 space-saving Lapeyre Stair alternating tread stair, a space-saving staircase that provides more usable tread depth than vertical ladders. The innovative design allows for comfortable and secure forward-facing descents at steep angles while minimizing the overall footprint over a traditional staircase.

Over 40,000 stairs and climbing

More than 40,000 Lapeyre Stair alternating tread stairs are in use around the world today, allowing workers to easily and safely access crossovers, catwalks, and other tight spots that do not permit the use of conventional staircases.

At the company's headquarters outside of New Orleans, Louisiana, alternating tread stairs and traditional steel egress stairs are manufactured to meet specific height and building code requirements. A variety of options and additional products integrate to create complete, custom stair systems design for each, individual customer's specifications.

Alternating tread stairs can be ordered online and ship within 15 business days. Pre-engineered steel egress stairs are designed upon approval and ship directly to the project site, ready for installation.

As a dedicated stair manufacturer, Lapeyre Stair provides a complete outsource solution that allows customers to focus on higher priority aspects of their projects.