Howard Hughes, eclectic, reclusive and sometimes nutty billionaire was not a Horatio Alger rags to riches story. What was the source of his fortune? If you saw the movie about his life, you probably know the answer. Most of us think of his work during World War II with the Spruce Goose, the largest aircraft of its time or his buying up the casinos in Las Vegas and wresting it away from underworld control. But these ventures were not the source of his wealth, an extraordinary tool was.
Many people my age only know of Hughes exploits through comedy skits on SNL and magazine articles that were based on hearsay. From the 1960s until his death, Hughes had shunned the spotlight he had craved as a young man. During my life, he had always been reclusive and my thoughts are if that is what he wanted then so be it. But did you know he was president of RKO pictures? For tech geeks like myself, his aviation exploits are what interested me. I knew of his racing airplanes, and his efforts to build the Spruce Goose, the maligned adventure that finally flew but never attained anything like what he had dreamed.
Do you know what the tool that created the fortune was and why it was revolutionary? Give us your answer in the comments section below.
If you have a piece of trivia or history involving tools, home improvement, building science or mechanical e-mail me, [email protected] and we can possibly use it as one of our questions either here or on the radio show on Monday Nights.