Earl Hickman was a cable engineer who pioneered many of the early developments in technology, principally with cable operator and hardware manufacturer Ameco. Hickman was born in 1920 and was raised in Bisbee, Arizona. He served in the Army in World War II and received training in communications and electronics. He graduated from Arizona State University in 1952. While there he had worked for several radio stations and the owner of one of them, Paul Merrill, asked Hickman to become involved in building a cable system in the town of Globe, Arizona. It was, Hickman says, the first cable system in the state. Rejecting the offer of Jerrold Electronics to supply the system, Hickman elected instead to build his own equipment, at one point constructing an amplifier on the dining room table of his home. As the company expanded, it began to sell some of the equipment to other cable operators, and Merrill and his brother Bruce, launched a cable equipment company, Ameco, with Hickman as the top engineer. Ameco pioneered in many of the early technology in cable TV, including hybrid amplifiers, 20-channel headends, dual cable plants, signal level measurement, vacuum tube modulators and others. After a stint at Kaiser, Hickman rejoined the company in 1966 when it had begun to experiment with transistorized cable equipment. Hickman left Ameco in 1971 to form his own cable operating company which he sold to Cox Communications in 1988. In his oral history, conducted by pioneering cable engineer Archer Taylor, Hickman discusses in considerable detail the technological developments of the 50s and 60s, the nature of the cable equipment marketplace and the individuals who dominated the business during that time.