Traveling through time and space: Aeroquip Corp.'s innovative ideas are still strong after 70

2021-12-08 11:02:29 By : Ms. Vicky Hong

The original Aeroquip Corp. plant is located at 300 S. East Ave. The sign was removed from the building in 2006.

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Jackson, Michigan-It has been a part of the local manufacturing industry for a long time, so that it is easy to forget that Jackson's Aeroquip company was born out of an innovative idea and 10 entrepreneurs who were willing to give it a chance.

Aeroquip was founded on Monday 70 years ago. Thanks to a group of Jackson businessmen giving the ambitious German-born Peter F. Hurst $10,000 in start-up capital, it has grown into the world's top flexible hose production line And one of the manufacturers of connecting parts.

In 1999, Cleveland-based Eaton bought it for $1.7 billion.

"I learned from my father that anything is possible," said Hirst's 64-year-old Jackson son Tony. "You just need to make up your mind and have the determination to stick to it."

Peter Hirst was born on August 3, 1910 in Bruchsal, a village between Karlsruhe and Heidelberg in southern Germany. He graduated from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in 1933 with a degree in mechanical engineering and moved to the UK in 1934 to work for the British aircraft business of the Berlin-based Argus Motor Company.

Hurst is responsible for Rotadisk, a subsidiary that designs and manufactures aircraft wheels and hydraulic brakes. The traditional hydraulic hoses at that time used non-reusable accessories when assembled in the factory. This means that a large stock of ready-made hose line components must be maintained, and a damaged hose means that the entire assembly must be discarded.

Hurst's team created a new type of hose with removable and reusable accessories to reduce inventory and simplify maintenance. One week before the outbreak of World War II in Europe in 1939, he came to the United States to look for companies interested in licensing these products.

Since the war did not want to return to Germany, Hirst was considering starting his own company in New York when he met Charles Hollerith, the vice president of Hayes Industries, who persuaded him to join Jackson.

Hollerith took Hurst to the Town Club for lunch, where he met Don T. McKone, a lawyer who helped organize many industries in the city, as well as other businessmen, lawyers, and doctors. After listening to his ideas, they quickly agreed Donated US$10,000 to start aviation equipment.

"I'm not sure if there are any adventurers who are willing to take risks today," Tony Hurst said.

Hurst initially planned to design only Aeroquip products and subcontract manufacturing. However, another $75,000 from the original investor allowed him to purchase the old bakelite factory of Reynolds Spring Co., 300 S. East Ave. for $11,500.

Aeroquip's first product, a detachable, reusable hose and fittings used in the aviation industry, soon became the standard for American military aircraft.

Ironically, Hirst was barred from entering his own factory during the war because, as a German, he was regarded by the government as an "enemy alien."

"When he talked about that, he was a bit bitter," said Meerbag, now 84, who was a public relations manager and corporate magazine editor for Aeroquip. "In 1941, he couldn't even go to the factory to attend the company's Christmas party, so the employees moved it to Meadow Lark Inn so that he could go. It really moved him."

Hirst repaired the metal bottle caps during Aeroquip's exile for Coca-Cola to reuse. Bagh said that in September 1943, when there was a problem with the production of critical aircraft parts, Army officials brought him back to the industry. He said that within a year after his return, production had doubled.

Hirst became an American citizen in 1945.

After the war, the company opened up new markets, including the industrial and aerospace fields, thereby ensuring a healthy industry in peacetime. Many Aeroquip employees parted ways and founded other successful local companies.

Hearst is a director of Jackson National Bank, Clark Equipment Company, Yard-Man Inc. and Jackson National Life Insurance Company. He became the first chairman of the board of directors of the Ella Sharp Museum in 1965 and was responsible for raising US$500,000 for the creation and construction of the museum.

The Peter F. Hurst Planetarium on the museum grounds was funded by another donation of US$200,000.

Hearst died in Jackson's Charity Hospital in 1969 at the age of 58 when he had a stroke while walking in the woods of the Hatch Road Family Farm. His citizen patriot obituary called him "an impartial philanthropist, civic leader, innovator, art collector, athlete, shrewd businessman, and idealist."

He left a $250,000 endowment fund to the museum and $100,000 to the Jackson Foundation, but most of his property established the Hearst Foundation, which provides valuable local projects and groups every year Provide nearly 400,000 U.S. dollars in funding.

Jackson's Aeroquip company celebrated its 70th anniversary on Monday. This is the history of the company.

April 26, 1940-10 bold Jackson businessmen invested $10,000 to support 29-year-old German engineer Peter F. Hurst. His idea was to create a hydraulic hose with unique removable and reusable accessories. Hurst named the company Aeroquip, which is short for aeronautical and equipment.

1948-Aeroquip acquired its first company, Aero-Coupling of Burbank, California.

1950-Aeroquip sold more than 150,000 shares at a price of $4 per share. The proceeds mainly went to the original shareholders, but the company itself liquidated about $65,000 to fund the acquisition.

By 1953-Aeroquip's industrial product line exceeded its main factory in Jackson. A factory was purchased in Van Wert, Ohio, and all industrial manufacturing was transferred there.

1955-Aeroquip acquires Marman Products Co. in Los Angeles, a manufacturer of fixtures, couplings, joints, and other piping components for the aircraft industry. The company was originally founded by Herbert "Zebo" Marx of the Marx brothers. In the same year, Aeroquip Canada Ltd. was established in the northern suburbs of Toronto.

By 1959-Aeroquip acquired four domestic manufacturers of hydraulic system components and expanded to Europe through the construction of factories in Baden-Baden and Hamden in West Germany.

1960-Aeroquip's assets exceeded 25 million U.S. dollars and sales reached 52 million U.S. dollars. The company has 10 factories in three countries and nearly 2,000 employees.

By 1961-Aeroquip is now valued at more than 39 million U.S. dollars, with seven US factories, two German factories and two Canadian factories in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Japan and Australia, as well as a license to produce Aeroquip products.

1962-Aeroquip acquired the operating assets of Barco Manufacturing Co. in Barrington, Illinois, a leading manufacturer of diesel locomotive balls, rotary joints and rotary joints, and speed recorders.

1963-Aeroquip acquired the Republic Rubber Division of Lee Rubber and Tire Corp. in Youngstown, Ohio, one of the leading rubber producers in the United States.

1964-66 - Aeroquip purchased Robot Manufacturing Co. and Kennedy Automatic Products. The company's sales exceed 100 million U.S. dollars.

By 1968, Aeroquip had 4,480 employees, sales of 123 million U.S. dollars, profits of more than 4.4 million U.S. dollars, and operations in six countries.

1968-Aeroquip gave up corporate independence and became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Libbey-Owens-Ford Co. Libbey-Owens-Ford Co. produced various glass products for the automotive and construction industries.

1970-Aeroquip acquired its "largest and oldest licensee"-British Super Oil Seals & Gaskets Ltd., and merged it with Yates-Barco Ltd., which was acquired at the same time, to form Aeroquip (UK) Ltd. ..

1974-Aeroquip acquired the pipe fitting manufacturer Gustin-Bacon Group from Certain-Teed Products Corp.

By 1978-Aeroquip established a company in France and purchased two other companies. The company's total sales exceed 340 million U.S. dollars.

1979-Aeroquip acquired Jackson's Tompkins-Johnson Company.

1984-85 - Libbey-Owens-Ford Co. acquired fluid power companies Vickers and Sterling Plastics Inc.

1986-Libbey-Owens-Ford Co. sold its name and glass manufacturing business to Pilkington Brothers PLC, the largest glass manufacturer in the UK. Trinova is composed of Aeroquip, Vickers and Sterling Plastics.

1990-Aeroquip operated approximately 100 factories worldwide and had approximately 12,000 employees, of which nearly 1,400 were in the Jackson area. Approximately 35% of the company's business is in overseas markets.

1997 - The company changed its name to Aeroquip-Vickers Inc.

1999-The company was sold to Cleveland-based Eaton for $1.7 billion. It currently has approximately 600 employees in Jackson.

Mel Barger, the former public relations manager of Aeroquip and the editor of the company's "Flying A" magazine, published Peter F. Hurst on his website The complete autobiography of "I'm Coming".

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