Howard Hughes Throughout the 20th century, it has been the media's job to pinpoint what events and people would prove to be an effective story. This was certainly the case for Howard R. Hughes. Son to the wealthy Howard Hughes Sr., Howard became the interest of the American people and newspapers for most of his life. Being deemed one of the most famous men of the mid-20th century was greatly attributed to Hughes's skills as an industrialist, aviator, and motion-picture producer combined with his enormous wealth, intellect, and achievement. The media thrived on Howard's unusual and sometimes scandalous life, especially in his later years when newspapers would frequently front large amounts of money to get stories on Hughes. Howard was also associated with what has been called one of the greatest publishing hoaxes in history. Howard Hughes Sr., commonly known as Big Howard, was a graduate of the Harvard School of Law, yet never once appeared before a court of law. Big Howard spent the first 36 years of his life chasing money across the Texas plains, as a wildcatter and a speculator in oil leases, working hard enough and earning just enough to move on to another, hopefully more fortunate gamble. In the year of his marriage, Big Howard sold leases on land that proved to have $50,000 in oil beneath it. He promptly took his new wife to Europe for a honeymoon, and returned exactly $50,000 poorer. In 1908, Big Howard turned his ingenuity and his hobby to tinker into good fortune. Current drilling technology was unable to penetrate the thick rock of southwest Texas and oilmen could only extract the surface layers of oil, unable to tap the vast resources that lay far below. Big Howard came up with the idea for a rolling bit, with 166 cutting edges and invented a method to keep the bit lubricated as it tore away at the rock. Later that year, Big Howard produced a model and went into business with his leasing partner, Walter B.