Sharp-Hughes Tool Co., the two partners set out to manufacture and
sell this new item.
Before Sharp died in 1913, Hughes bought out the business and in
1915 renamed it the Hughes Tool Co.
His early advances in rotary drilling technology gained wide attention
and put Houston on the
map as the world's leading manufacturer of drilling equipment.
By 1917 he had improved the original cone bit, making it more efficient
and less costly. Hughes also is credited with the invention of other
drilling services that saved time and money.
In addition, he did his part during World
War I, creating a tunneling machine to drill from Allied trenches
to German territory.
extraordinary man died on Jan. 14, 1924, at the age of 54, when
his only son was a student at Rice.
Along with the company store, Howard Robard Hughes Jr. inherited
the patent rights to his father’s most famous invention, the basis
of their financial empire.
We’re referring, of course, to the cone bit that made history in
the Goose Creek oil field.
Back then, in 1909, Howard Robard Hughes Jr. was a 2-year-old toddler
and could not have grasped the significance of his father’s trip
to the oil field in the middle of the night.
left their home in Houston
that night, Junior must have been in bed asleep.
If he woke
up and asked mommy where daddy was, she probably told him he was
working late, as usual. (“Hush, little Howie. Go back to sleep.”)
Most likely, Mrs. Hughes didn’t know where her husband had gone.
Apparently, he was a secretive, private person as well as imaginative,
Some called him a man ahead of his time, a visionary, a dreamer,
Could it be that Howard Robard Hughes Jr. inherited much more than
mere money from his father?
© Wanda Orton,
Baytown Sun Columnist
2, 2012 columns