Friday, December 21, 2007

Howard R. Hughes, Sr.

tool-father Howard Robard Hughes, Sr. (September 9, 1869January 14, 1924) was an American businessman and the father of Howard Robard Hughes, Jr., the reclusive multi-millionaire. Hughes, Sr. created the fortune that Hughes, Jr. inherited at 18 years of age.

Hughes, Sr. was born in Lancaster, Missouri. His parents were Felix Turner Hughes (Milstadt, 10 November 1837Los Angeles, California, 19 October 1926) and wife (married at Memphis, Tennessee, 1 August 1865) Jean Amelia Summerlin (Keosaqua, Iowa, 6 May 1842Los Angeles, California, 4 November 1928, daughter of Thomas Summerlin and wife Bathsheba Robard). His brother Rupert Hughes was a well known novelist and screenwriter. He also had a sister named Greta Hughes (born in Schuyler, Missouri, 4 June 1866).

Hughes was a classic entrepreneur, trying and failing at many endeavors before he finally found his specialty. Hughes lived in Houston (where Howard Hughes Jr. also lived before his life in Los Angeles).

Hughes attended Harvard, then studied law at the University of Iowa. He never graduated, but practiced law with his father. Later, in Dallas, Texas, on 24 May 1904, he married Allene Stone Gano (Scott, Kentucky, 14 July 188329 March 1922, daughter of William Bariah Gano, a descendant of Catherine of Valois, Dowager Queen of England, by second husband Owen Tudor, and wife Jeannette de la Fayette Grissom[1][2][dubiousdiscuss]). Their honeymoon was a journey around the world, and they returned with very little money.

Hughes engaged in various business endeavors before capitalizing on the Spindletop oil discovery to Texas, as a result of which he began an oil business. He patented a two-cone rotary rock drill bit that revolutionized drilling. It was unlikely that he actually invented the bit, but his law training helped him understand that the patent was the most important part of the financial life of any invention[dubiousdiscuss]. According to the PBS show History Detectives, several other people and companies had produced similar drill bits years earlier.

tool-hughescompany He co-founded The Sharp-Hughes Tool Company with Walter Benona Sharp based in Houston, Texas in 1909, and bought full ownership of the company upon the death of Sharp in 1912. The essential asset of Hughes Tool was Hughes's patent for his tri-cone roller bit. The fees for licensing this technology were the basis of Hughes Tool's revenues. After Hughes Sr's death in 1924, Howard R. Hughes Jr. assumed control of the company as its sole owner. Later Hughes Co. engineers created a tricone bit and from 1934 to 1951 Hughes's market share approached 100 per cent. The bit found virtually all the oil discovered during the initial years of oil discovery, and Howard Junior became the wealthiest person in the world. During 1972 he made the tool company public and realized $150 million the day it sold

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