Chapter 25: Howard Hughes
25 Howard Hughes Teresa E. Dana Among the great entrepreneurs and philanthropists (see Acs and Dana, 2001, on entrepreneurship and philanthropy) of the twentieth century, Howard Robard Hughes was born in Texas in 1905 and lived until 1976. He was the only child of Howard Hughes Senior, who had patented the two-cone roller bit, an innovative tool that revolutionized oil drilling, and that was sold by his enterprise, the Hughes Tool Company. Howard Hughes, the son, became a film producer and industrialist. He also redefined the competitive environment for trans-Atlantic air travel, to the benefit of consumers as well as his airline. He was America’s first billionaire (Hack, 2002). (See also Barlett and Steele, 1979; Dietrich and Thomas, 1972; Keats 1966; and Moore, 1984.) In 1922 Howard’s mother died from pregnancy complications. In 1925, he moved to California where he became a film producer the following year. In 1932, he founded the innovative Hughes Aircraft Company, the shares of which he later donated to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 1939, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his achievements in advancing science. Howard Hughes contributed to the development of the Boeing 307 Stratoliner (see Figure 25.1), the first commercial airliner to feature a pressurised cabin. Transcontinental & Western Air (TWA) – formed in 1930 when Transcontinental Air Transport merged with Western Air Express – would receive its first Boeing 307 in 1940. Meanwhile, Hughes had begun investing in the airline and by 1941 he had purchased controlling interest of...
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