Long-time Manufacturer of Diagnostic Equipment
By mark h. stowers
For the past 100 years, Greenwood-based Hickok Waekon has been in the business of developing and manufacturing tools for service technicians. The company’s main headquarters are located in Cleveland, Ohio, and since 1984 the company has been a leader in diagnostic tools for automotive and mid-size truck technicians.
The Greenwood location is the manufacturing base and was first known as Supreme Instruments. The initial business was started by Jewel R. Williams in his garage where he produced a radio set analyzer. As the business grew, he relocated to a building on Carrolton Avenue. Williams was one of the first people in Greenwood to employ women.
In Atlanta, Robert D. Hickock was producing similar products and work. He moved his company to Cleveland, Ohio to be closer to needed inventory and customers after a customer offered $15,000 for him to move into a building owned by the customers. Part of the deal was that Hickock would provide $10,000 of product as part of the $15,000.
Hickock continued creating technology for the government and the radio industry as did Supreme Instruments in Greenwood. Volt-Ohm meters, multi-band Signal Generators and Vacuum Tube Testers were all made. The business grew and Williams moved some of the operations to 414 Howard Street in Greenwood. During the depression, Williams had financial trouble and the business was taken by the Bank of Greenwood. B.F. Dulweber became the new owner of the venture and his son, Don became Supreme Instruments President after his college graduation.
The company grew quickly to 150-200 employees including seventeen engineers. Supreme Instruments became a leader in the production of radio test equipment. Hickock in Ohio began producing aircraft instruments and was continuing to grow. During World War II, both businesses were major suppliers for the US government’s war effort. At Supreme, they incorporated a production line that increased production. Prior to the assembly line, one person would construct an instrument from start to finish. As radar was being developed, Hickock would buy out Supreme Instruments in 1956 and move everything to Greenwood where the company continued to grow. In 1998, Hickock purchased Waekon Industries and moved two other production lines to Leflore County as well.
Today, the company develops, manufactures and markets electronic and non-electronic diagnostic tool products in the USA. Products designed for automotive aftermarket servicer providers, tools designed specifically to OEM requirements, and products developed for the emissions testing industry. Additionally, the company develops and manufactures indicating instruments for aircraft, locomotive, and general industrial applications.
As new technologies emerge, the company actively researches and develops tools to aid technicians in the diagnosis and service of the components and systems these technologies drive. Hickok Waekon is fully committed to providing innovative, quality American designed and manufactured diagnostic equipment for years to come.
Rick Allen moved up from working in the stock room and is now Vice president of Manufacturing. He has been with the company since his high school days in 1979 and came back full time after achieving his college degree from Mississippi State University.
“This is one of the most interesting manufacturing firms in the Delta,” says Allen. “It is one of the oldest in the entire Delta.”
The company manufacture gauges on C130 military aircraft and many other aviation instrumental applications. Hickok Waekon continues to provide quality indicators and gauges for the aircraft and locomotive industry. Within the aircraft market, instruments are sold primarily to manufacturers or servicer’s of business, military, and pleasure aircraft. Within the locomotive market, indicators are sold to both original equipment manufacturers and to operators of railroad equipment.
“Our offerings include a grouping of products, DIGILOG Instruments, that were originally FAA certified in 2002,” says Allen. “Subsequently, several additional models have also been certified. The DIGILOG instrument is a customizable indicator that is a combination analog/digital indicator for the aircraft market. It can be adapted to display a wide variety of aircraft parameters.”