Today, you probably know Cummins as the multinational Fortune 500 company it has become. The business offers engines, components, distribution and power generation. Employing over 50,000 workers worldwide, Cummins is a major player in diesel engines and diesel fuel in Corpus Christi, TX and around the world.

Yet, all this glamour and grandeur had to start somewhere. In this case, it began with a little boy named Clessie Lyle Cummins.

Clessie’s First Creation

At age 11, Clessie Cummins built his first steam engine. As the story goes, he used wooden blocks to create molds into which he poured molten cast iron. He used this iron to create a steam engine that his family then used to pump water to the farm.

Clessie’s formal education stopped at grade eight, but his knowledge of the mechanical continued to deepen and grow. He eventually left the family farm and worked on his own as a mechanic.

Cummins was invited to join Ray Harroun’s race car pit crew in 1911. Clessie’s suggestions improved the car’s speed, and the car won the Indianapolis 500. Just eight years later, Clessie founded the Cummins Engine Company in Columbus, IN. He was backed by banker William G. Irwin and, together, they founded a company built on the technology created by Rudolf Diesel.

Clessie’s Continued Success

Cummins and Irwin proved to be a winning combination. The company grew quickly and spread internationally over the next 40 years, turning its first profit after just three years. By the 1960s, Cummins could be found in 98 countries. It now has a headquarters in Beijing with more than 9,000 employees.

Cummins Across the Country

Cummins nearly single-handedly popularized the notion of using diesel engines in cars and trucks. Before his influence, the engines were primarily used in stationary settings. To prove the invention was a viable option for vehicles, Cummins installed one of his engines in a sedan and drove the vehicle from Indiana to New York City in 1930. At The Big Apple, Cummins was turned away from the auto show, and received the same treatment in Atlantic City. Still, Cummins managed to get attention for his engine, which made an impressive showing in speed and gas usage during the long trek.

Cummins pulled similar stunts over the years. He drove a diesel-powered truck from New York to Los Angeles and completed another L.A. to N.Y. run in a diesel bus. Cummins went on to feature his engines in race cars. He actively participated in the Indianapolis 500 for many years.

Eventually, Cummins would find its name on consumer products as well as commercial when it landed in Chrysler vehicles. Dodge trucks began to offer a diesel option, featuring Cummins engines. We can thank Clessie Cummins for the many options we have for consumer trucks powered by diesel fuel in Corpus Christi, TX today.

From Cummins to Coastal

Do you own a vehicle that traces its roots to Cummins’ contributions? At Coastal Diesel Injection, we offer the expertise you need for sales, repairs and maintenance of your diesel engine and diesel fuel in Corpus Christi, TX. Contact us today for superior service that would make Clessie Cummins proud.