HISTORY IN THE MAKING
HB’s accomplishments poised them for defining moments throughout the 30s. The early 30s brought an opportunity to help develop the first 115kV transmission line to cover most of Nebraska. This effort was one of the earliest fully-engineered and designed wood transmission projects in America. The 225 mile spread of this ground-breaking endeavor covered two-thirds of the state and stretched the distance between Platte and Columbus. The completion of this project readied HB to take long-distance power transmission to the national stage.
In 1935 President Roosevelt’s executive order established the Rural Electric Administration which congress supported with the ratification of the Rural Electrification Act; mandating that electricity be delivered to America’s rural communities. As a part of larger coordinated effort, HB worked with the US government to create a distribution network powerful enough to provide reliable electricity to rural America. Though challenging—this effort was successful and further supported HB as leader in T&D.
In the late 1930s, HB applied their manufacturing know-how and civic commitment to support the US during the Second World War. Everything from ammunition boxes, land mine casings and ship davits were produced alongside T&D materials for utility customers.
Careful engineering, testing and quality control propelled HB into growth over the next several years. Later, in the 1940s, HB expanded their product line to include steel pole line hardware and customer manufactured steel fittings.
During World War II, Hughes Brothers produced 1,507,071 ammunition crates. The majority of these were shipped to the Cornhusker Ammunition Plant in Grand Island, Nebraska. These crates are displayed in the “War Room” which is located on the 2nd level of HB’s office building.
DID YOU KNOW?
Lessons learned from creating long-distance power distribution networks helped bring efficiency to HB’s factory-assembled items. Processes to create complete cross-arms, double-arming bolts and other items were streamlined to increase speed and quality.