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Hughes Brothers celebrates 100 years

Manufacturing business in Seward
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 11:06 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -A manufacturing business continues to provide opportunities for workers and equipment for the electric utility industry after 100 years.

We caught up with John Hughes, who is the president of Hughes Brothers. He is a third generation of the original Hughes Brothers, and the history of the business is extensive. “This is our 100th year in business,” Hughes said. “We started in 1921. The reason it’s called ‘Hughes Brothers’ is there were four original brothers, and one of them was my grandfather. They were house builders, but a storm came through Seward County in 1921, and knocked down power lines. The brothers used some of the materials for building houses to build cross arms that would hold up power lines. So they went from a business that was building houses, to a business that was providing materials for the electric utility industry.”

What does Hughes Brothers make? “We make all sorts of different products,” Hughes said. “We make about 100,000 different end products made up of about 900,000 little pieces and parts. These parts are made from wood, steel and fiberglass, all for the electric utility industry. What that means is that if you are driving down the road, and you see a power line off to the side of the road that is carrying high tension lines to deliver electricity, we don’t make the poles or conductors, but we make about everything else on the pole. That could be anything from the cross arms, or the pole line hardware that attaches it into something that can withstand the elements.”

It turns out because Hughes Brothers is celebrating its 100th anniversary, the company decided to make a museum for the public to see at the factory. “The museum starts out with how the business started in 1921,” Hughes said. “There are seven rooms in the museum. One is dedicated to steel, as about 70% of the products we make here are from steel. Then we have a room dedicated to wood. There’s a room that focuses on technology, there’s a ‘war room’, that explains how this company made many products for the war effort, and we have another room dedicated to engineering. Finally, we have a room dedicated to the community. We’ve been in Seward for 100 years, and we’ve been involved with various building projects, so we have a room that focuses on that.”

If you’d like to see the museum, there is going to be an open house on Friday, October 15 from 12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. There will be factor tours, and a tour of the museum. If you can’t make it to the open house, we are told the museum can be opened and toured “by appointment.”

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