Robert Hickok - Founder and President Hickok Incorporated
354 Bratenahl Road
Robert Hickok learned the jeweler's trade while in Greenville, Michigan, at eighteen years old, where he apprenticed himself as a watchmaker. In 1900, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, along with his parents, to accept a position with Silvers and Wood Co. to be in charge of the watch and material department. He later became the head of the watch department of the Charles W. Crankshaw Company.
Using his own intellectual curiosity, he taught himself engineering principles and soon found that his ambitions turned elsewhere. In 1910, he began the manufacture of electrical measuring instruments in a small building behind his home in Atlanta under The Hickock Electrical Instrument Co. One man was employed as an assistant. Two types of electrical instruments were built, and nearly everything was made by hand with simple machinery.
In the spring of 1913, Mr. Hickok decided that Atlanta was located too far from the country's industrial centers. He decided to move to Cleveland to be closer to the electrical instrument market. The business first rented a building at 6536 Carnegie Avenue.
With few employees, Mr. Hickok was president, chief engineer, and sales manager. The company's policies were based upon the quality of the product and keeping abreast of all possible new developments
In 1914, the Electric Products Company, one of Hickok's largest customers, offered to sell their 10514 DuPont Avenue building at cost, which was around $15,000 with $10,000 of the price in meters. The building, located immediately south of the railroad tracks off East 105th Street (Bratenahl Road), was an easy walking distance from his house. Mr. Hickok considered it a good deal and moved to the plant in June of 1914. Hickok became incorporated as an Ohio corporation in 1915.
Shortly after moving into the plant, the company’s activities continued to expand rapidly.
During World War I, the company received a large order from the U. S. Government for instruments to be used on U.S. Navy destroyers for submarine detection.
After World War I, the company offered a variety of tube testers, scopes, and meters. In 1936, they developed electrical aircraft instruments. During World War II, they designed and manufactured precision indicators and meters for aircraft, locomotive, and industrial applications. By the end of the 1950s, Hickok had manufactured approximately fifty different, highly specialized electronic testers.
In 1956, Hickok purchased Supreme Instruments Corp in Greenwood, Mississippi. Supreme continued to operate as a division of Hickok, manufacturing automobile test equipment in Greenwood.
By the 1970s, Hickok moved from the servicing market to focus on measurement instrumentation for engineers and designers. As electrical instruments only played a minor role in the product offerings, Hickok Incorporated became the new company name in 1995.
Robert Deloss Hickok Sr. was born on April 11, 1879, in Saybrook, Ohio. He then moved to Rockford, Michigan, with his parents in 1884, where he attended high school from 1893 to 1897.
Robert and Edna had two children, one of whom in childhood. A son, Robert D. Hickok, Jr., was born on October 8, 1910, in Atlanta, Georgia. He succeeded his father as president of the company.
The Hickoks were financially conservative. Their home had few furnishings and few wall hangings. As Robert became economically successful, they did purchase oriental rugs.
Robert died on January 23, 1950. Edna continued to live in the house until 1963. She died on January 20, 1965. Both are buried in Acacia Masonic Memorial Park Cemetery in Mayfield Heights, Ohio.