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At age 20, Frank G. Hough (1890-1965) was superintendent for the Field Mining and Milling Co., in Lafayette County, Wis., when he first became interested in applying hydraulics and wheels to movement of bulk materials. This eventually led the young engineer to a position as vice president and general manager of the Blair Mfg. Co. in Chicago, where, in 1922, he sold his first tractor-mounted shovel attachment. This original shovel, mounted on a Fordson farm tractor, was based on an invention whose patent he shared with Russell B. North and Royal R. Miller. The device was called the North hydraulic digger.

Hough purchased Blair Mfg. Co. in 1931, and in 1933 incorporated as the Frank G. Hough Co. Like its predecessor, the newly named company concerned itself with engineering and sales, but not fabrication. A major move was made in 1939 to new premises in Libertyville, Illinois. For the first time Hough had everything required under one roof – design, supply and manufacturing.


WWII put the brakes on further machine development with production given over to the manufacturing of military supplies.

One of the items built at the time for the military was a tow tractor to move air force planes around the tarmac. Following WWII, airfield tow tractors were to become another staple product for Hough and given the name “PayMover”.

This 1963 variant (originally built for the US Navy) is called a"P-36" was acquired by the Connecticut Air & Space Center in 2020 from VOLO Aviation. It is the goal of the CASC to eventually restore this vehicle to like-new condition.

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