The McHugh family started in the service industry back in 1896 with the Charles James McHugh Co. located in Philadelphia, PA as a hauling, rigging, and service company, that was assigned Pennsylvania hauling authority certificate #87. After the turn of the century in 1916, the C.J. McHugh & Son Co. was formed and the business expanded with motorized trucks and hauling trailers. The E.P. McHugh Co. was established in 1929, and a 10 ton lift capacity crane was purchased from the Insley company in 1931. In May of 1945 the E.P. McHugh Co. purchased the worlds largest truck crane, a 20 ton lift capacity machine from the Baycity Company. The E.P. McHugh Co. in 1950, again purchased another of the worlds first largest truck crane, a 45 ton lift capacity machine from the Lorain Co.
Several of the American Hoist & Derrick Co. cranes built between 1962 and the mid 1970’s, were developed because of the innovative concepts of Jimmy McHugh.
The McHugh family business diversified and expanded under the direction of Jimmy McHugh. In 1962, Jimmy was instrumental in the design and development of the worlds first 6 axle truck truck crane carrier that had 3 steering axles and 3 drive axles. Jimmy McHugh decided that his new 6 axle crane carrier would be of a fabricated welded construction built with the newly developed USS T-1 steel, another one of the McHugh’s and worlds first. Jimmy McHugh was able to convince Bill Hendrickson of his idea and the crane carrier was manufactured by Hendrickson Truck of Lyons IL. Jimmy McHugh was also able to convince John Carrol the president at the American Hoist & Derrick Company, to supply a new 700 series American crane upper for Jimmy’s new crane carrier. This made Jimmy McHugh’s machine the world’s first 6 axle truck crane with a 100 ton lift capacity.
Because of the great success of Jimmy McHugh’s 6 axle carrier, Bill Hendrickson of Hendrickson Truck and John Carrol of American Crane continued to work closely with Jimmy on the design and development of other never before built 6 axle cranes. In 1967 the first 6 axle truck crane with a 175 ton lift capacity was built, and in 1969 the first 6 axle truck crane with a 200 ton lift capacity was built.
The McHugh’s also had other first built American cranes in their rigging and crane fleet that included. The first 900 series crawler crane with a 225 ton lift capacity, that had long Costalo type boom capabilities., and the first two 8440 model 4 axle 150 ton lift capacity truck cranes. Another innovative crane industry design of Jimmy McHugh is the McHugh Tip Head Section of crane boom. This boom is still sold today by the former American Hoist & Derrick Co. ( now TEREX ) when an order for this type of new OEM factory boom is placed.
Over the decades, Jimmy McHugh also design several large heavy haul tractors and trailers that were build in the McHugh shops. One particular innovative McHugh large heavy haul project was moving a 610 ton Nuclear Reactor in Ohio for a power plant with a trailer that had 196 steer-able tires.
Jimmy McHugh and his family become associated with railroading and begin repairing locomotives along with various other types of rail equipment.
Jimmy McHugh in 1966 began assisting a newly formed all steam locomotive powered freight and passenger heritage rail line located in south eastern Pennsylvania. Jimmy eventually became president of this Pennsylvania short line railroad in 1973. The McHugh’s during 1974 began leasing locomotives and locomotive cranes along with providing on-site repair service of these units to short lines, industrial plant with railroad operations, and rail contractors. JC McHugh during the mid 1970’s began working part time for the family business and in 1979 he became a full time employee. JC’s skills and duties at that time included him to be a certified operating engineer, heavy haul truck driver, and during 1980 he also became superintendent of the railroad operation.
The McHugh family railroad equipment included: 10 diesel electric locomotives, 500 new box cars, 8 flatcars, 4 gondola cars, a side dump car, 1 tank car, and over 500 pieces of maintenance of way equipment. The MOW equipment consisted of hi-rail cranes, tampers, ballast regulators, and a host of other track maintenance machines.