Armais Arutunoff was an inventor whose idea of building electric motors, especially for use in oil wells, revolutionized the techniques of deep-well pumping.
In 1916, he began his experiments in building a new type of electric motor in his native Russia. However, the Russian Revolution in 1917 did not create an environment favorable for industrial development. In 1923, Arutunoff and his wife, Kyra, and their two children made their way to the United States by way of Germany.
The Arutunoffs settled in Michigan followed by a move to Los Angeles, Calif. where the first electrical, centrifugal pumps for oil wells were built in this country.
The Arutunoffs arrived in Bartlesville in 1928 when Arutunoff joined Phillips Petroleum Co. With the company’s backing, Arutunoff refined his pump and first successfully demonstrated it in a well in Kansas. The device was manufactured by Bart Manufacturing Co. In 1930, Bart Manufacturing Co.was dissolved and in its stead appeared the REDA Pump Company, the letters representing Russian Electrical Dynamo of Arutunoff.
The company grew steadily under Arutunoff’s personal leadership. It became widely known throughout the petroleum industry and a dominant factor in the manufacture of deep-well pumping equipment. By 1938, it was estimated that two percent of all oil produced in the U.S. was lifted by an Arutunoff pump. In 1969, REDA became a division of TRW. At the end of the 20th century, the company was the world’s largest manufacturer of ESP systems and was part of Schlumberger.
The Bartleville Community Foundation has selected the Arutunoff family as the inaugural recipient of the Heritage Family Award, which will feature families that were a key influence on Bartlesville’s origination. The family will be one of three honored at the 12th annual Legacy Hall of Fame Gala on May 18 at the Hilton Garden Inn
Once honored by the Oklahoma Legislature as “Mr. Americanism of Bartlesville,” Armais Arutunoff was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1974. A holder of more than 90 patents, Armais Arutunoff passed away in February 1978 in Bartlesville. He was preceded in death by his wife who passed away in 1970.
The Arutunoffs were parents of three children.
Born in Russia in 1919, Sergei Arutunoff was a graduate of the Black Fox Military Academy (CA) and the University of Southern California where he majored in electrical engineering. He served in the Adjutant General’s Department during World War II and spent considerable time in the South Pacific including the second wave in the battle of Luzon in the Philippines. For many years he served as executive vice president and comptroller for REDA Pump. He passed away in 2000 at the age of 80, leaving behind wife Margaret, two children Christopher and Christina, and five grandchildren.
Born in Germany in 1922, Anait Arutunoff was a pioneer in art holography. She was married Ralph L. Stevens for 57 years and together the couple had two children, Kyra (Kiki) Stephens Gebhardt and Randolph (Rocky) Stephens. Anait passed away in 1998.
Anatoly Arutunoff was born in Tulsa in 1936. He graduated from College High School in Bartlesville in 1952 at the age of 15. He went on to earn degrees in several different subjects including both a master’s degree and a doctorate. Toly, as he has been known from a very early age, became “an amateur road racer, raconteur and car guy extraordinaire.” He also authored two books and founded the first Ferrari dealership in Tulsa. Now age 82, Toly resides in Tulsa with his wife Karen.
Join the Foundation in celebration of the Arutunoff, Potter and Zervas families on May 18 at Hilton Garden Inn. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Bartlesville Community Foundation at 918-337-2287 or visiting the website www.bartlesvillecf.org.