Well, as most people know, Howard Hughes was a "Health Nut", and suffered from allergies just like the rest of us. When he moved to Las Vegas, he penciled out a air filtration system, gave it to one of his research engineers who subcontracted with a medical research company who had an idea of a method to design a filter (now known as the hepa design) but was lacking the funds to complete the project. Hughes paid for the development and had the engineers install the system in his car. The system took up most of the trunk, the engineers sealed all of the windows except the drivers side to maintain the integrety. He spent more on this system than what the car cost him new in the 50's!
Just an FYI...My dad worked for Hughes Aircraft (as an R&D mechanical engineer) starting back in the late 50's, and actually worked directly for Howard himself for a couple of years. Although he was excentric, everyone who worked for him agreed that he was a very intellegent man, highly principled, cared deeply for human beings and was protrade to be a "nut" by the media. Most people are not aware, Hughes aircraft itself was owned by the Howard Hughes Medical Research Corporation, with all profits from the corporate offices going to them. The Missile Group profits all went to children's hospital of LA for research and to pay for procedures that could not otherwise be afforded, Space Group profits went to the morman church (he was morman), etc. The only monies that were kept for himself were from Hughes Tool and Helicopter Companies which paid for his "pet" projects.
To give you an idea of the company's wealth, after his death, when the government decided the company could no longer operate as a non-profit organization, McDonald Douglas bought the Helicopter company, the Tool Company went back to the "Family" in Texas and the only company that could come up with the cash to purchase the Aircraft Company was General Motors, $6 billion cash plus thousands of preferred GMHE stock and profit sharing payoffs to the Medical Research Foundation, and signing over Delco Electronics to Hughes Aircraft. Myself & my wife worked for the company (Hughes) at the time, and what most people didn't know, was it almost placed GM into bankruptcy. My wife worked at Hughes Corporate and say the finance dudes working like dogs the first year after escrow closed just to keep the corporation afloat. Things got so serious at one point that even Roger Smith came down for a face to face meeting with all the coprorations executives.
There were a couple of good things that came about from the purchase, battery powered cars, headsup display, night vision system, radar collision advoidance system for cars, "OnStar", GM Sunracer, electronic siren warning system for drivers, GPS for cars, surround sound stereo, etc. But like the movie "Roger & me", GM has destroyed the company, there is very little leftother than the research labs and the Space Group. Most of the old engineers were targeted for forced retirement or layoff............wellhere I go rantin again..I just shut up now...
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