John W. Hobbs Corp.

Springfield's Hobbs plant, empty, as of 2014 (SCHS)

Springfield’s John W. Hobbs plant, empty, as of 2014 (SCHS) (Corrected photo)

John W. Hobbs Corp. manufactured automotive accessories in Springfield from 1938 until 2009. Products included hour meters, battery indicators, controls, switches and the first clock for automobiles.

Founder John W. Hobbs (1889-1968), who had worked as a youth for the short-lived Springfield Motor Car Co., moved back to the city from Chicago in 1938 to start the Hobbs Co. in the 1000 block of East Ash Street.  The firm was sold to Stewart Warner in 1956 and operated as a division of that company until 2002, when it was acquired by Honeywell International Corp. and became Honeywell Hobbs.

Honeywell closed the Springfield plant and moved operations to Mexico in 2009. Hobbs had about 120 employees at the time.schs logo (2)

Original content copyright Sangamon County Historical Society. You are free to republish this content as long as credit is given to the Society.

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7 Responses to John W. Hobbs Corp.

  1. glenn nissen says:

    I have a old JOHN W Hobbs engine hours: gauge that is brass it is in excellent shape I would like to know more about it on the back there are some numbers that shade type – m 1 – 251 and i was just wondering what it was about it has two leads that are still on it and in excellent shape and there is a cover over both of the wires with a wire connected to two screws that has a a round shutter ring that is connecting those wires so you can’t get into it and there is a dial on the back that you put a screw in and it goes from F 20 and I can’t read the other part but if you could tell me more about this I would surely appreciate it one of them says the on the top of the wire to switch and the other one says to ground and there is another hole at the bottom on the back with a hole in it and I do not know what that is about either I was hoping you could tell me what it was used for and the approximate age of it I surely would appreciate some information thank you very much Glenn

    • editor says:

      Mr. Nissen: Cars and car mechanics are mysteries to me, I’m sorry. Perhaps another reader will have an idea about what you have. Thanks very much for commenting.

  2. Tom Blalock says:

    Thank you for the article about Hobbs . I started at Hobbs in 1974 and was there when the plant closed.

  3. Tom Blalock says:

    I am unable to help Mr. Nissen with his question about his hour meter. If he were to send a photo I would be able to help. The photo at the top of the article is a picture of the sister plant at SpringValley IL.

  4. glenn nissen says:

    I have read other blogs and I saw a few of them on eBay but still do not know the year of the gauge and would appreciate someone to let me know if it was used on an aircraft or something else thank you very much Glenn

    • editor says:

      Mr. Nissen: Have you gotten in touch with Tom Blalock? He thinks he can help you. Check your email account for a message from me that includes Tom’s email address. If my message didn’t come through for some reason, email me directly at mkienzler@msn.com, and I’ll connect the two of you.

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