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)

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19 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.

    • Michael J. Brown says:

      Mr. Nissen, the hole in the bottom of the case, in all probability, is a condensation hole, allowing moisture to drain out of the hour meter.
      The m 1 251 is a date code (month and year manufactured), and the 251 is a part number.

      Michael J. Brown retired
      Director of Marketing, Hobbs Division

      • Beth Hudson says:

        Michael Brown,
        I was one of your assistants. You were a joy to work with and a genuine mentor who cared about employees. I recall you had a very talented musical family. I hope all is well with you.

  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, and I’ll connect the two of you.

  5. John Wing-Stevenson says:

    Hi Can you say if you still mana fracture Cessna 414 Hobb switch

    Regards John

    • editor says:

      John: Sorry, but John W. Hobbs no longer operates in Springfield. You’ll need to contact the Stewart-Warner Corp ( They seem to make some OEM parts still. Good luck.

  6. John Dougherty says:

    Anyone know what a Hobbs system hours and gyro hours by department of navy is for?

  7. steve says:

    am restoring a H farmall tractor with a John w. Hobbs hour meter, It is run by a oil switch and is currently has a 6 volt system can it run on 12 volt.

  8. Jerry Shannon says:


    I am trying to restore an Allis Chalmers HD16 dozer. I am looking for a Hobbs Dash light housing with glass lens included. It is steel, 1.5″ in diameter and 2″ tall. It had a removable glass lens inside to cover the light bulb. It hung over the instrument panel. I have the housing but am looking for the glass lens. Anyone able to help me?

  9. Clint says:

    Anyone have any information on an ELECTRO-DRAULIC grease gun by John W Hobbs. I haven’t been able to find anything

  10. Ronald Hesson says:

    I stumbled across this site by accident but I’m happy I did. I worked at Hobbs from 1972 or 1973 until late in 1976. I started as an accountant in the Screw Machine Department, then moved into the Cost Accounting Department. Co-workers and managers were Jerry Bacon, Joe Beneke, Pat McConnell, and Bill Bean and others I can’t recall. From Hobbs I moved to Kewanee, IL, St. Louis, Omaha, Highland, IL, and back to Omaha where I live now. if there is anyone from my time at Hobbs, I would love to hear from you.

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