25 Facts About Andrew Higgins


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.

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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.

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Andrew Higgins was born on 28 August 1886 in Columbus, Nebraska, the youngest child of John Gonegle Higgins and Annie Long Higgins.

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Andrew Higgins's father was a Chicago attorney and newspaper reporter who had relocated to Nebraska, where he served as a local judge.

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Andrew Higgins' father died after a fall when Andrew Higgins was seven years old.

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Andrew Higgins was raised in Omaha and completed three years at Creighton Prep High School before being expelled for brawling.

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Andrew Higgins served in the Nebraska Army National Guard, attaining the rank of first lieutenant, first in the Infantry, and later in the Engineers.

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Andrew Higgins gained his first experience with boat building and moving troops on the water during militia maneuvers on the Platte River.

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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.

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Andrew Higgins acquired a fleet of sailing ships, said to have been the largest under American registry at that time.

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Andrew Higgins designed a "spoonbill" bow for his craft, allowing it to be run onto riverbanks and then to back off with ease.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Andrew Higgins believed in a diversified workforce for his plants, including all races and genders, and sought highly skilled employees.

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Andrew Higgins Industries was one of the world's largest manufacturers, with over 85,000 workers and $350,000,000 in government contracts.

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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.

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The first type were Andrew Higgins boats made of plywood and designed for navigating swamps.

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Andrew Higgins began losing money due to multiple strikes and sold off most of his plants.

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Andrew Higgins went on to build more LCVPs, but did not have much success with receiving government grants.

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Andrew Higgins was an influential part of American history, with his participation in World War II and in national politics.

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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.

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Andrew Higgins died in New Orleans on 1 August 1952, and was buried in Metairie Cemetery.

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Andrew Higgins had been hospitalized for a week to treat stomach ulcers when he suffered a fatal stroke.

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Andrew Higgins held 30 patents, mostly covering amphibious landing craft and vehicles.

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