Andrew Jackson Higgins was an American businessman and boatbuilder who founded Higgins Industries, the New Orleans-based manufacturer of "Higgins boats" during World War II.
28 Facts About Andrew Higgins
Andrew Higgins started out as a small boat-manufacturing business, and became one of the biggest industries in the world with upwards of eighty thousand workers and government contracts worth nearly three hundred fifty million dollars.
Andrew Higgins was born on 28 August 1886 in Columbus, Nebraska, the youngest child of John Gonegle Higgins and Annie Long Higgins.
Andrew Higgins's father was a Chicago attorney and newspaper reporter who had relocated to Nebraska, where he served as a local judge.
Andrew Higgins' father died after a fall when Andrew Higgins was seven years old.
Andrew Higgins was raised in Omaha and completed three years at Creighton Prep High School before being expelled for brawling.
Andrew Higgins served in the Nebraska Army National Guard, attaining the rank of first lieutenant, first in the Infantry, and later in the Engineers.
Andrew Higgins gained his first experience with boat building and moving troops on the water during militia maneuvers on the Platte River.
Andrew Higgins left Omaha in 1906 to enter the lumber business in Mobile, Alabama, and worked at a variety of jobs in the lumber, shipping and boat building industries in an effort to gain experience for starting his own company.
Andrew Higgins acquired a fleet of sailing ships, said to have been the largest under American registry at that time.
Andrew Higgins designed a "spoonbill" bow for his craft, allowing it to be run onto riverbanks and then to back off with ease.
Andrew Higgins's boats proved to be record-beaters; and within a decade he had improved the design to attain high speed in shallow water and turn nearly in its own length.
Andrew Higgins kept his boatbuilding firm in business, constructing motorboats, tugs and barges, for the private market as well as the United States Coast Guard.
When shown a picture of such a craft, Andrew Higgins called his chief engineer and arranged for a mock-up to be built and ready for his inspection upon his return to New Orleans.
Andrew Higgins believed in a diversified workforce for his plants, including all races and genders, and sought highly skilled employees.
Andrew Higgins Industries was one of the world's largest manufacturers, with over 85,000 workers and $350,000,000 in government contracts.
Andrew Higgins' plants produced a variety of naval equipment in World War II, including landing craft, Motor Torpedo Boats, torpedo tubes, gun turrets, and smoke generators.
The first type were Andrew Higgins boats made of plywood and designed for navigating swamps.
The federal government began canceling war contracts after Japan surrendered and Andrew Higgins' ship building ended on October 11,1945.
Andrew Higgins began losing money due to multiple strikes and sold off most of his plants.
Andrew Higgins went on to build more LCVPs, but did not have much success with receiving government grants.
In 1940, Andrew Higgins Industries was contracted by the US Army Corps of Engineers to construct a large aircraft manufacturing facility in the village coastal area of Michoud, New Orleans, at a cost of $180 million, known as the Michoud Ordnance Plant.
Andrew Higgins was an influential part of American history, with his participation in World War II and in national politics.
When Franklin D Roosevelt was running for his fourth consecutive term alongside vice presidential candidate Harry Truman, Higgins made sure his voice and opinion were heard.
Andrew Higgins revered them and urged the nation to vote for them during the 1944 presidential election campaign while visiting various cities such as Boston and New York.
Andrew Higgins died in New Orleans on 1 August 1952, and was buried in Metairie Cemetery.
Andrew Higgins had been hospitalized for a week to treat stomach ulcers when he suffered a fatal stroke.
Andrew Higgins held 30 patents, mostly covering amphibious landing craft and vehicles.