Alvin E. Huckins is head of the leading clay products business of Champaign County. A mechanical engineer by profession, Mr. Huckins has been identified with several large industrial corporations in the United States, and now gives his time and energies to a plant at Urbana which is capable of turning out any form or class of product from clay. It is a big business, and Mr. Huckins is considered one of the big business men of this community.
He was born in Chicago, July 31, 1884, and as a young man made his way through difficulties to success. His parents, Clarence L. and Flora E. (Ryans) Huckins, were both natives of Canada and both are now deceased. His father was for many years in the wholesale tobacco business in Chicago. Mr. Huckins was the youngest of their five children, the others being: William A., of Miami, Florida; Albert C., of Chicago; Webster Lee, of Chicago; and Luella R., wife of Walter Quinn, of Chicago.
Mr. Huckins had a grammar school education in Chicago, and sold papers in order to pay his way through the English High and Manual Training School of that city. He also did night work in an architect’s office and subsequently had some valuable experience with Pierce, Richardson & Neiler, a prominent firm of consulting engineers. For a year and a half Mr. Huckins was assistant superintendent of the American Spiral Pipe Company of Chicago.
In 1903 he entered the College of Mechanical Engineering at Champaign, and had two years of technical training. In 1905 he took’ the position of superintendent of the Abendroth & Root Manufacturing Company of Newburgh, New York. He was there about three and a half years and then removed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where for a short time he was connected with the Standard Asphalt and Rubber Company.
Returning to Chicago in 1909, Mr. Huckins became associated with J. W. Stipes in the Sheldon Brick Company. For several years he was’ connected with that corporation, and in 1912 he bought the Sheldon Brick Company’s plant at Urbana. This is one of the largest plants for the manufacture of clay products in this section. It has a capacity of 1 forty thousand bricks a day or ten million a year. The company manufactures bricks of every type and size and for every purpose and a large line of other clay products. Mr. Huckins is vice president for Illinois of the National Brick Association and is secretary of the Illinois Clay Manufacturers Association. He is an ex-president of the Chamber of Commerce of Champaign. Mr. Huckins is a Republican, a member of the Masonic Order, and of the Rotary Club.
He was married November 7, 1906, to Miss Clara Gere, a native of Champaign. They have two daughters and a son: Helen, born March 18, 1911; Clara Beth, born February 21, 1915, and Alvin E. Huckins, Jr., born June 11, 1917. Mrs. Huckins is a daughter of the late George W. and Mary H. Gere, her mother still living in Champaign. George W. Gere was a prominent attorney at Champaign, and represented a number of large corporations, including the Illinois Central Railway, the Big-Four Railway Company, the Illinois Traction System, and some years ago was candidate for governor of Illinois on the prohibition ticket. Mrs. Huckins is the only surviving child of her 1 parents, her sister Eva having died a number of years ago.