Electric Hose and Rubber Company recordsCreation: 1904-1978
The Electric Hose and Rubber Company (EHRC) was a manufacturer of braided rubber hoses in Wilmington, Delaware, from 1900 to 1978. The company specialized in the manufacture of consumer-grade garden hoses, as well as industrial-grade hoses for pumping gas and military functions. This collection includes accounting ledgers, tax information, payroll books, advertisements, company newspapers, employee records, and stockholder information. The collection materials date from 1904 to 1978, with the bulk of the materials dating from the 1920s to the 1960s. This collection would be useful to researchers interested in the history of manufacturing in Delaware, particularly in regard to rubber hoses.
- Creation: 1904-1978
13.5 Linear Feet
The Electric Hose and Rubber Company (EHRC) was a manufacturer of braided rubber hoses from 1900 to 1978. In 1897, Henry B. Cobb (1844-1901) patented the Chicago Electric Hose under the Chicago Electric Wire Company. Following the company's failure, Henry B. Cobb’s son, Henry Z. Cobb (1867-1935), inherited the braided hose patents and formed the Chicago Electric Hose Company with Edward T. Davis (1849-1913) in Wilmington, Delaware.
The fledgling company enjoyed moderate success, despite the challenges associated with marketing and selling a new product. By 1904, original company leadership had dropped out, and an increase in capital and new leadership led to improvements in manufacturing efficiency and sales. In 1905, the name was officially changed to the Electric Hose and Rubber Company.
The company continued to expand facilities and improve their product, focusing exclusively on the technical development, manufacturing, and sales of hoses. EHRC aided the British during World War I by supplying light, easy-to-maneuver hoses for pumping water out of trenches. They were able to establish the British Moulded Hose Company, Ltd. in 1927 with a seventy-five percent share. However, the Great Depression hampered hose sales in the United Kingdom and the company was sold in 1933. Despite this setback, EHRC continued to drive innovation in rubber hoses in the United States into the 1940s and 1950s.
As gas stations were being introduced in the United States, EHRC collaborated with the DuPont Company to develop hoses coated with neoprene that would resist degradation from gasoline. EHRC also aided the United States military during World War II. The company served as a developer and primary producer for the Army Air Force, as well as a secondary supplier to other primary producers. EHRC also developed new hybrid material hoses as an answer to the wartime rubber shortage, as well as hoses resistant to freezing temperatures.
During the years that followed, EHRC continued to innovate rubber hose manufacturing while focusing sales efforts on the postwar consumer economy. The company was sold to the Dayco Corporation in 1978 and moved to Ocala, Florida.
Scope and Contents
This collection consists of materials relating to the Electric Hose and Rubber Company's (EHRC) operations from 1904 to 1978. The bulk of the collection materials consist of financial records and company newsletters. This collection would be useful to researchers interested in the history of manufacturing in Delaware, particularly in regard to rubber hoses.
The collection is divided into three series: Financial records, Institutional records, and Publications and promotional materials.
Series I, Financial records, consists of accounting ledgers, tax information, payroll books, stockholder information, and annual reports, the bulk of which date from the 1920s to the 1960s. This series includes fourteen volumes containing accounting information, stockholder lists, property records, and an appraisal of the company. The materials date from 1904 to 1977.
Series II, Institutional records, consists of company history, employee records, and some correspondence. This series includes a memorandum from the British Moulded Hose Company, which was a brief holding of EHRC. This series also includes a scrapbook of the EHRC company softball team from the 1930s to the 1940s. The materials date from 1915 to 1973.
Series III, Publications and promotional materials, consists of advertisements, company newspapers, and other printed materials. EHRC published several iterations of their newspaper over the years, including The Hose Line, Hoseline, Hoseline Newspaper, and EHR News. The materials date from 1924 to 1978.
No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- Electric Hose and Rubber Company records
- Paige Bartello
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