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Early hurst history - trivia

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by dennis kirban, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. pastlane
    Joined: Oct 4, 2007
    Posts: 1,063

    pastlane
    Member

    Been cleaning in the shop & came across this again. Was told it's from the Hurst Aid tent back at the 1966 US Nationals.
     

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  2. theamcguy
    Joined: May 7, 2009
    Posts: 229

    theamcguy
    Member

    kirban 2 cents worth
    Another piece of original Hurst artwork. Judging from the Camaro pictured I place the time frame around 1970-1972.
    This was towards the end of the popularity of 4 speed shifters. Between the Government and insurance rates sad days were coming coupled to the mid 1970s gas crisis.
    enjoy
    denniskirban@yahoo.com
    be a few days before more gets posted....

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Tuck
    Joined: May 14, 2001
    Posts: 5,652

    Tuck
    Tech Editor
    from MINNESOTA
    1. Early Hemi Tech

    Here is some added pictures from my Hurst collection...

    All of the real early stuff was painted red- motor mounts and brackets etc... so those first two shifters have a triangle of red paint on the shifter base.

    I think the differences in these early HURST shifters really show the progression in design... the first one very early- I've never seen another one like it. Its open in the front-

    The second is similar design only has the bump stop adjustment in the front...

    and the latter... a syncro-loc, which is the best design out of the three... and thats the last year they made that yo-yo handle.
     

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  4. TheNovaMan
    Joined: May 3, 2009
    Posts: 46

    TheNovaMan
    Member
    from Michigan

    Quick question for ya. It looks like all your T-handles have regular straight up and down letters, but I have a handle that has italics letters. Do you know when they introduced the italics?
     
  5. Little Wing
    Joined: Nov 25, 2005
    Posts: 7,501

    Little Wing
    Member
    from Northeast


    If you look close you will notice,,the early shifter,,very much resemble the Mystery Shifter housing
     
  6. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 20,930

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    Have Linda Vaughn autograph it for ya next you see her.. :D
     
  7. dennis kirban
    Joined: Nov 16, 2009
    Posts: 230

    dennis kirban
    Member

    I have not posted awhile on this thread....can't even member if I started it or not....

    Anyrate I never seen itallic letters it may be a prototype or a copy...several companies I am sure probably go tin trouble copying the Hurst logo on the shifter as I have seen them years ago....

    Easy to understand happens alot today even with stuff we make.

    I just did a seminar at the POCI Nats on Hurst did a slide show as I have original slides from Hurst must have 400-500 of them....neat history....

    denniskirban@yahoo.com
     
  8. TheNovaMan
    Joined: May 3, 2009
    Posts: 46

    TheNovaMan
    Member
    from Michigan

    Hurst currently uses standard block letters only on their polished aluminum T-handles and italics on all their other T-handles. All the packages I saw at the local speed shop about a month ago said made in China. I threw up a little bit in my mouth when I saw that.
     
  9. dennis kirban
    Joined: Nov 16, 2009
    Posts: 230

    dennis kirban
    Member

    My 2 cents worth

    I confess I don't follow the new Hurst stuff at all...Hurst has changed ownerships many times over the years since they were in the Horsham-Warminster,Pennsylvania area when I grew up and my wife worked there in 1969-1970.

    At one time even the sunbeam company owned them that makes toasters......

    The big move came around the late 1980s....when Mr Gasket bought them up and moved everything to Brook Park, Ohio etc.....

    Now B & M owns them....the shifter people....

    Ironically, our company gets 6-speed shifters made for the C5 and C6 Corvette most notbly for Callaway Corvettes.

    The Jaws of Life portion of Hurst is owned by a seperate company from what I understand.

    Hurst in its day prided itself on quality and lifetime warranties.....

    One reason probably even 30-40 years later unless it has been in a swamp the chrome on the original shifters still looks pretty good only drawbacks are the ones you find where someone heated them to change the angle of the bends!

    The Hurst name still carries great value in the field.....kinda weird that B & M maker of shifters now also has the Hurst name plate as well.

    denniskirban@yahoo.com

    On another note Linda Vaughn Miss Hurst wil be Back to the Bricks up by Flint during Woodward Cruise....Doc Watsons shop is in Grand Blanc and is throwing a party during that weekend of the cruise as well.

    (We did a project with Linda and she will be there).......
     
  10. TheNovaMan
    Joined: May 3, 2009
    Posts: 46

    TheNovaMan
    Member
    from Michigan

    Well, since your T-handles are from the 60s and all have straight up and down lettering, that's the kind I'll put in my Nova.
     
  11. retro rodder
    Joined: Apr 24, 2009
    Posts: 184

    retro rodder
    Member
    from cape cod

    i love this thread
     
  12. hemiheadnc
    Joined: Nov 30, 2008
    Posts: 31

    hemiheadnc
    Member

  13. Slim Pickens
    Joined: Dec 15, 2008
    Posts: 3,342

    Slim Pickens
    Member

    <object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/pMv8qzNuJho?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/pMv8qzNuJho?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

    __________
    From Dennis

    This was originally filmed by the art director at Hurst. Notice how dangerous it was with the 4 lane highway in the background....filmed at the new Hurst building in Warminster, PA located on Street Road. This new plant opened in 1965 and was the very first time Hurst-Campbell had everything under one roof. It was known as Hurst-Campbell from then until end of 1969 when Bill Campbell left the company. Kinda like you remember when it was Sears/Roebuck later called just Sears.

    Here is some more background on this rare piece of footage.

    The old stone house you see in some of the background Hurst was not permitted to tear it down because of its so-called historic value. (We live in an are where George Washington slept around alot)....any how one nite they hired a crew to come in and tear it down anyhow....I am told that is how it happened.

    I have the model of that exact Hemi Under Glass car that sat on George Hursts desk in my private collection.

    Also if you notice the tall flag pole.....funny story the Johnsville Air Base sat across the corner and the Hurst building is on one of the incoming flight paths....one day a plane clipped that flag pole......end result is a shorter flag pole was erected....(True story).

    Appreciate all the comments on this rare footage.....alittle more history....My friend who was the art director at Hurst during those "glory" years....was not a motorhead or gear head...not even a car guy but designed every single ad, promotion, decal even picked out the color of the bricks for the building....worked at Hurst from around 1963-64 until the early 1980s.

    Also a camera buff....he shot that footage probably on 8mm tape and later on had it put on vhs tape...

    Before he died, he told me he had some of original footage of the Hemi doing the testing....but he could never find it among the 50-75 VHS tapes he had made.....

    It wasn't until he passed away that I had a chance to go through his VHS tapes looking for clues on the back of the cartridge. He printed so much stuff on them and so small it was hard to find it mixed in with family things...

    As luck would have it I did find it and even more lucky after I had it transferred to a DVD the tape broke......

    Being a collector of Hurst, this is the only piece of footage I have ever come across that was done at the factory. still shots exist and I have still shots of them loading the car into aircraft as Hurst displayed it at various military bases around the country back in the day.

    Hurst was very big on the military.....he spent time in the service in Willow Grove and served with a good friend of mine. Claims George was super intelligent and back then at nite they would let him do testing on the runways.....something today, would never be permitted.

    Its ashame its all in the past now and just memories.

    My friend who became the art director was about 38-40 years old when he took the job. He never thought it would last but he held that position until he retired in the early 1980s.

    He served in WW 2....and his art work in the service made the cover of Colliers Magazine back in the day....old timers will remember that magazine....

    How he got the job:

    He was at a print shop getting a job done and George Hurst was also there getting work done and asked the printer if he knew anyone who could do artwork.....and the rest is history....ironically, my Dad also dealt with the same printer during that same time frame.

    It was always neat as a kid that was car crazy like most teenagers to have a major car related company in my area as most of the companies back then where mostly on the west coast.

    denniskirban@yahoo.com
     
  14. TomP64
    Joined: Dec 10, 2008
    Posts: 418

    TomP64
    Member
    from Vancouver

    Terrific stuff here. I see on Google Earth their Street View shows the Warminster building is still there and still gold but extended. The flagpole is still there too. You can't really see where the Hurst sign was because the camera angle is blocked by the chainlink fence.

    enter "50 W Street Road , Warminster, PA" in the search box.

    I see half the runway of the airbase across the street is left... a potential new Warminster Dragway i'd say! :)
     
  15. Philsr
    Joined: Apr 23, 2006
    Posts: 16

    Philsr
    Member
    from Telford PA

    I remember going into the Abington former ice cream/food bldg on York rd just north of Sears. The year was 1957-1959 and my recall is that Hurst was making transmission adapters and motor mounts for the new OHV V8s The other nearby mfr in question may have been Foxcraft who were makers of after market skirts. They were on Pine rd near Philmont ave. Ahh to be 17 again and tooling around in my 37 Ford 2dr flatback sedan
     
  16. dennis kirban
    Joined: Nov 16, 2009
    Posts: 230

    dennis kirban
    Member

    A few updates on your observation the new flag pole is in the same location only it is s shorter version.

    You are correct the building is now better than twice its size...Over the years I have talked to the CEO its called H & H Plastics.......until maybe 2-3 years ago they were still getting people sending them shifters...even though Hurst has been out of there since around 1989 when Mr Gasket purchased the company and moved it to Brookpark....today of course, it is now owned by B & M.....I assume mainly bought for the Hurst name.....

    The air strip runway is long gone all that ground has now been developed....into various buidlings even a Holiday Inn sits in that area as does a high rise old folks facility called Annes Choice....

    At one time you could see the outline on the main original building where the large Hurst letters and Campbell was mounted...course Campbell portion came down in 1970 or there abouts.

    There was talk in Warminster at one time to erect a historic sign stating locaiton of Hurst or something to that effect....historic signs are big in that area because of the revolutionary war and George Washington stomping thru this area and a few famous battles were fought....

    Unfortunately, it never came to pass......

    At one time I handled the towing for the company cars since I towed under contract for the local Olds dealer...I am referring to the 1978-79 vintage HO cars....

    as they say those were the good ole days....

    denniskirban@yahoo.com

    In the 1970s we only live about 2 miles away and my wife worked at Hurst in the PR department.

    In re-reading your post you may be seeing a huge empty parking lot that sat directly across the street as that is stil l a huge empty lot...that was parking for one of the main buildings at Johnsville Air Base...Air base occupied both sides of jacksonville road with the actual runways across the street which as I indicated are long gone...

    We actually did two huge car shows at the airbase in 1990 and 1991....I had back then a personal conenction with the then chief of police. An air base for a car show is a great location offered terrific security had al lthe vendors set up in the two huge hangers.....even did a dinner one nite in one of the aircraft hangers....

    denniskirban@yahoo.com
     
  17. dennis kirban
    Joined: Nov 16, 2009
    Posts: 230

    dennis kirban
    Member

    You are correct Foxcraft was near the railroad on Pine Road near Philmont as I went to Lower Moreland back then grew up in that town...Foxcraft was probably better known for fender skirts....also made some cheapo style shifters by cheapo I mean not nearly the quality of Hurst.

    Hurst started in that little uiudling you refer to sat at the top of the hill just north of Sears....in Abington....that is where Bill Campbell first met George from what I remember....I did a DVD interview with Bill Campbell 3-4 years ago...he is still alive and was the engineer half of the Hurst/Campbell partnership.....

    Your reside in Telford not far from me....I deal with the big chrome shop in Sellersville on a weekly basis...

    denniskirban@yahoo.com
     
  18. dennis kirban
    Joined: Nov 16, 2009
    Posts: 230

    dennis kirban
    Member

    I should probably contact them somewhere I have a copy of the letter concerning the original trademark for Jaws of Life and black and white photos showing them testing it for the federal government in washington dc....

    Got no proof but I have been told that the jaws of life portion of Hurst sold for more than the shifter division......

    Not sure if you ever witnessed it in use but it is an impressive tool similar to opening a can of cat food on a bigger scale.

    denniskirban@yahoo.com

    In the interview I did with Bill Campbell he talked about working on that project initally, trying to get it down to a manageable size for someone to handle in the field.

    Hurst was very safety concisous, quality control, and the military.......and as most of us are aware his PR in print was second to none back in the day.

    denniskirban@yahoo.com
     
  19. theamcguy
    Joined: May 7, 2009
    Posts: 229

    theamcguy
    Member

    Appreciate Mr AMC Guy for posting these 3 photos for me. I beleive it was on my thread about the Jaws of Life.


    The first photo shows a very early ad for the Jaws of Life. Second photo is actually the instruction booklet. I figure it is probably late 1960s early 1970s as its black and white and the cars used in the demo appear to be AMC cars from that time period. Th third photo I believe is when they went down to Washington DC to demonstrate it for the government.


    I could be wrong on that assumption however, going by memory I am told they did demonstrate the Jaws of Life for the government early on.


    I think its kind of unusual that a company that made automotive aftermarket parts would venture into the life saving business and in doing so make something so impressive you still hear about it 40 plus years later.


    denniskirban@yahoo.com

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Little Wing
    Joined: Nov 25, 2005
    Posts: 7,501

    Little Wing
    Member
    from Northeast

  21. theamcguy
    Joined: May 7, 2009
    Posts: 229

    theamcguy
    Member

    Here is a copy of the trademark info on the Jaws of Life.....not sure if you can read the letterhead but as you can see the company was no longer owned by Hurst at this point in time.


    denniskirban@yahoo.com


    again thanks to Mr AMC Guy for posting for me.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  22. Philsr
    Joined: Apr 23, 2006
    Posts: 16

    Philsr
    Member
    from Telford PA

    Dennis...I just came across an early ad in HRM that showed the Nerf Bar kit, consisting of U bends and straights and divider pieces for a "weld it yourself" Nerf.
    Did you make it to the "Big Boys" on Roosevelt Blvd in Philly? That was a great hot car place that would be called a cruise nowadays... At a quick notice the fast street draggers would exit followed by 10 others to go drag at the "concrete" or Woodhaven... Yes we use North Penn Plating, for our nickle plating.
     
  23. studemisfit
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 99

    studemisfit
    Member

    I just found this thread and had to laugh cause i live down the street from the old factory. couple of my friends parents worked there back in the day. i thought it was a pasta noodle plant now or some thing?
     
  24. wally bell
    Joined: Apr 15, 2008
    Posts: 418

    wally bell
    Member
    from VA.

    still have my "hurst swifter shifter" glove (from back in the day)......and a couple of Hurst Lenco shifters
     
  25. Duce of Diamonds
    Joined: Dec 22, 2010
    Posts: 6

    Duce of Diamonds
    Member
    from NW IOWA

  26. chubbie
    Joined: Jan 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,316

    chubbie
    Member

    wow great read
     
  27. Dennis,
    A Hurst trivia question for you.....How thick was the service manual for the first Hurst T-tops.........
     
  28. Tomilyn
    Joined: May 27, 2011
    Posts: 4

    Tomilyn
    Member

    theamcguy wrote:
    I think its kind of unusual that a company that made automotive aftermarket parts would venture into the life saving business and in doing so make something so impressive you still hear about it 40 plus years later.


    The reason Hurst got into making the rescue tool is that one evening, early in the company's history, co-founder Bill Campbell was reading an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about a truck/train accident. A truck was caught on RR tracks, the train hit it, and by the time they got the truck driver extricated from the cab, he had bled to death. Campbell, a mechanical engineer who loves to solve problems, thought there had to be some way to get people out of cars. He took his concept - a spreading tool - into work the next day and told his partner, George Hurst, about it. George added that there also needed to be a cutting tool (I may have this backwards, I can't remember which man thought of which concept, I'd have to look it up.) And they were off on developing the tool.

    Bill Campbell is my dad, very sharp and now 89 years old, as Dennis Kirbin mentions below.
     
  29. Is this the world Famous Dennis Kirbin?
    That sell's wornout Divco Milk truck's, cheap? If I didn't say it before, Thank's
     

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  30. Tomilyn
    Joined: May 27, 2011
    Posts: 4

    Tomilyn
    Member

    Dennis - my dad dated my mom in a Ford convertible - said he bought part of the PA Turnpike visiting her. They were married in 1952 and dad bought the 1939 LaSalle in 1960. He does still have the leather key fob from the dealer from whom my mom bought the car she owned while they were dating.
    Tomi Fay Campbell Forbes
     

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