William Halligan, founder of Hallicrafters, was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1899. He got his first ham license as a teenager and was a keen radio experimenter. Bill's first job, at age 16, was as a wireless operator on excursion ships between Boston and other coastal cities. This stood himm in good stead as during WW1 he served his country as a wireless radio operator on the battleship Illinois.
After the war ended, he attended engineering school at Tufts College and West Point, but left when he married in 1922. He took a job as a newspaper reporter, and then left journalism in 1924 to sell radio parts. In 1928 he decided to start his own company, and moved to Chicago, Illinois. and in 1933 Bill founded the Hallicrafters company that made him a legend.
Hallicrafters built handcrafted receivers with state-of-the-art features at an affordable price. By 1938, Hallicrafters was considered one of the "Big Three" manufacturers of amateur receivers alongside National and Hammarlund. Hallicrafters products were selling in 90 countries including the USA!!
When WW2 began, there was a shortage of military radio equipment and Hallicrafters geared up to fill that shortage!
After the war, focus was again on consumer electronics, including radio phonographs, AM/FM receivers, clock radios and televisions. The 1950s were the golden years for the company. In 1952 Hallicrafters' main plant in Chicago housed general offices and the factory and was a block long, there was a 3-story building of 72,000 square feet two blocks away, a 1-story coil plant of 12,000 square feet on Chicago's north side, and 150,000 square feet of production and storage space in three other buildings within a five-mail radius of the main plant. The company employed 2,500 people.
In 1966 Northrop Corporation bought Hallicrafters and moved the company to a new plant in Rolling Madows, Illinois. where military equipment and electronic countermeasures systems were manufactured. . Hallicrafters produced a few amateur radios during 1972 and a few accessories during 1974 after which time, amateur radio production finally ended..
From 1933 until the company was sold to Northrop, Bill Halligan, W9AC, always supported the amateur radio hobby. He died on July 14th, 1992 at the age of 93.