At the age of 14 he went to sea. Eighteen years later, he set up his first workshop in Brooklyn, New York. And, as the years passed – now over 100 years since his birth – the one-man shop has become the global entity we know as Goltens today.
Golten landed in New York, and started a marine repair workshop in Brooklyn in 1940. Golten got a good amount of work related to the war effort in the years that followed, expanding his shop with other able-bodied and qualified Norwegians stepping onto American soil. After World War II ended, Golten travelled to Oslo, Norway to establish Atlantic Diesel with his brothers Konrad and Knut. While the brothers stayed in the Norwegian capital to further develop Atlantic Diesel, which later became the European hub known as Goltens Oslo, Sigurd Golten returned to New York.
Oslo was just the start of the expansion – and Golten’s global vision of a worldwide organization and network. In his sailing years he saw first-hand the importance of top-quality machine shops and workshops. He wanted to be able to service his clients wherever they may be and he was thrilled to become a true global entity and to be able to put into use the original company slogan that is still on the wall at the Oslo office today – ‘Around the clock, around the world’.”
After Sigurd Golten became better known in the maritime community – with the patents for his crankshaft regrinding process, a knighting from the Norwegian government, and the establishment of Goltens locations the world over – people would ask him where he got his education from. Many assumed NTNU in Trondheim, thought of as the MIT of Norway. His daughter Sylvia Strand remembers his usual response. “He liked to say, ‘Well, I only had up to 7th grade... and Sunday school.’”
The education – along with his truly international focus – came during his eighteen years at sea. While many other seamen whiled away their free time playing cards, Golten used this time to develop his talents both in business and as a person. Not only did he teach himself how to play the mandolin and accordion, but he also continually took engineering correspondence courses. This isn’t to say that Golten wasn’t social. Far from it. This aspect was also important after establishing the Goltens business. “He had a wonderful sense of humour, a love of life, and truly cared about people,” says Sylvia. “People trusted him, and knew that he cared. He was always on the phone worldwide, providing the personal touch.” Indeed, one could say that he took the one-to-one service ethic that one gets from growing up in a small location and made it an integral part of his global company.
Revolutionizing engine repair and saving time by developing a process for grinding a crankshaft in-situ is one of Golten’s true legacies, and one or which he was honoured with a patent in 1965. Since his death in 1986, Goltens’ engineers have continually refined and advanced the tooling and process to increase the precision and speed of repairs as well as to incorporate a wide range of additional in-situ machining capabilities to complement the crankshaft services. This core service area endures as one of Goltens’ most recognized services in the 20 plus locations in 16 countries that Goltens now operates.