(February 18, 1885 - 1949)
Alumnus in electrical and mechanical engineering, Wilfred Lane partnered with his former classmate Walter Wells to create the Lane-Wells Company to great success.
Profound patron, inventor and alumnus Wilfred G. Lane was born in Mason City, Iowa, on February 18, 1885. He attended Mason City High school and graduated at the impressive age of 15. His early graduation led him to apply to the University of Wisconsin, where he studied for a year before returning to Mason City to take a position as a private secretary.
During the fall of 1906, Lane set out to attend Iowa State College (now Iowa State University) to undertake a degree in electrical engineering. Understanding the importance of education, he stayed one more year to receive his second degree in mechanical engineering in 1910. Immediately following his graduation, Lane entered the graduate test course of the General Electric Company. After passing the test, he transferred to the company’s Los Angeles office and worked as a sales engineer, serving the company until 1930. Pushing his career forward, Lane moved to a subsidiary, Carboloy Company, and worked as the Western district manager until 1932.
In February 1932, Lane partnered with his former classmate Walter Wells to create the Lane-Wells Company. The company focused on developing a “gun perforator,” which allowed oil companies to revive dry oil wells by shooting holes through casing and cement with controlled gunfire. Lane found so much success in his business that he was able to retire in 1938, only six years after starting the company.
Attributing his success to his education, Lane began to give back to Iowa State and its students. He contributed scholarships, helped with the completion of the fourth and fifth floors of the Memorial Union, and donated money for the Memorial Union pipe organ and the Memorial Gate at the now defunct Clyde Williams Field. The Lane-Wells Scholarship provided financial assistance each year to worthy students and was purposed to relieve the necessity of self-support.
Throughout his life, Lane remained an active member with the Boy Scouts of America; a camp in Big Tujunga Canyon bears his name in his honor. Lane also participated with the Glendale Elks, the Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, the Rancheros Visitadores, the Rotary Club and Kiwanis Club.
Memorial Union. Online exhibition, Special Collections. http://www.add.lib.iastate.edu/spcl/exhibits/buildings/muorgan.htm
The Lane Wells Story, blog post. https://www.decopix.com/the-lane-wells-story/
Lane Wells-Company records, Collection no. 7055, Regional History Collection, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.