American Football Database
American Football Database
For the Australian politician, see George Christensen (politician).
George Christensen
Date of birth: December 13, 1909
Place of birth: Pendleton, Oregon, United States
Date of death: July 1, 1968
Career information
Position(s): Tackle, Guard
College: Oregon
 As player:
Portsmouth Spartans
Detroit Lions
Career highlights and awards
Honors: NFL 1930s All-Decade Team
Playing stats at

George Washington Christensen (Tarzan) (December 13, 1909 – July 1, 1968) was an American football player and businessman. He played college football for the University of Oregon and professional football for the Portsmouth Spartans (1931–1933) and Detroit Lions (1934–1938). He later formed the Christensen Diamond Products Company, which became a publicly traded company manufacturing industrial, drilling and military equipment with plants in Europe, Asia, South America and North America.

Early years

Christensen was born in Pendleton, Oregon in 1909. He attended Pendleton Prep and Aberdeen Prep before enrolling at the University of Oregon.[1] He played college football as a tackle for the Oregon Ducks from 1928 to 1930. At the end of the 1930 season, Christensen was selected as an All-Pacific Coast player.[2] He also played for the Western All-Stars in the annual East-West Shrine Game.[3]

Professional football

Christensen played professional football in the National Football League for eight years for the Portsmouth Spartans (1931–1933) and the Detroit Lions (1934–1938). He was selected as a first-team All-NFL player in 1931, 1933, 1934 and 1936, and a second-team All-NFL player in 1932 and 1935.[4] He was also the captain of the first Detroit Lions professional football team in 1934 and was a starter on the 1935 Detroit Lions team that won the 1935 NFL Championship Game.[5] Teammate Glenn Presnell recalled, "George Christensen was a good tackle, he weighed about 230 and was the biggest man on the team."[6]

In 1969, the Associated Press selected all-decade teams to commemorate the NFL's 30th anniversary. Christensen was named as one of five tackles on the All-1930s teams.[7]

In July 1939, Christensen was hired as the line coach for the Brooklyn Dodgers.[8]

Christensen Diamond Products

After retiring from football, Christensen became employed by Koebel Diamond tools, which sold diamond tools to the automotive companies in Detroit.[9]

In 1944, Christensen went into business with his former teammate, Frank Christensen, to whom he was not related.[10] The two men began manufacturing diamond bits as the Christensen Diamond Products Company in Salt Lake City. George was responsible for procuring diamonds for the business, eventually negotiating a direct allocation from the DeBeers diamond syndicate.[11]

In 1946, the company introduced diamond core bits to the mining industry.[12] The company had a technological breakthrough in the late 1940s when it perfected a tungsten carbide matrix for diamond bits at an oil field in Colorado. The two men also formed Christensen Machine Company, which later became Hughes Christensen, to manufacture precision tools and gauges for military ordnance and radar.[12] In 1957 Christensen Diamond Products opened a manufacturing plant in Celle, West Germany to serve international markets. Eventually, the Christensens' operations became international with manufacturing plants in Canada, France, Germany, and Japan.[12]


In 1968, he died at his home in Colorado of a heart attack at age 58.[13]


  1. "George Christensen".
  2. "Two Colleges Get Three Men on All-Pacific Coast Team". Christian Science Monitor. December 13, 1930.,+1930&author=SPECIAL+FROM+MONITOR+BUREAU&pub=Christian+Science+Monitor&desc=Two+Colleges+Get+Three+Men+on+All-Pacific+Coast+Team&pqatl=google.
  3. "Western Stars Hold First Workout For Game With East on Coast Dec. 27". The New York Times. December 19, 1930.
  4. "George Christensen".
  5. "Ex-Lion Dies". Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Michigan. July 3, 1968.
  6. Richard Whittingham, Keith McClellan (2002). What a Game They Played: An Inside Look at the Golden Era of Pro Football. University of Nebraska Press. p. 74.
  7. Mike Rathet (August 26, 1969). "Hutson, Herber Are Selected on All-1930s Football Team". Reading Eagle (AP story).,6198618&dq=george+christensen+portsmouth&hl=en.
  8. "Dodgers Get New Line Coach". The New York Times. July 10, 1939.
  9. Thomas Derdak, Jay P. Pederson (1999). International Directory of Company Histories, vol. 26. St. James Press. p. 69.
  10. Bryce W. Anderson (October 17, 1948). "Industry of the Week: Football Pair Put Diamonds Into Oil Wells". The Deseret News.,3615101&dq=george+christensen+diamond&hl=en.
  11. Charles W. Cheape (1985). Family Firm to Modern Multinational: Norton Company, a New England Enterprise. Harvard University Press. pp. 337–340. ISBN 0-674-29261-8.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 "Baker Hughes: 100 Years of Service". Baker Hughes. pp. 30–46.
  13. "Former Lion Dies". the Pittsburgh Press. July 3, 1968.,710022&dq=george+christensen&hl=en.