View Full Version : Evinrude Outboard motors

10-23-2006, 05:47 PM
US Patent #1,001,260
1910 patent for Ole Evinrude’s outboard motor, or “marine propulsion mechanism”
201718_EP.qxd 2/3/06 7:08 PM Page 16
S P R I N G 2 0 0 6 17
Without question, the cheese and beer industries are
closely associated with Wisconsin. However, another
product, the outboard motor, has undergone continuous
development and enjoyed great popularity for nearly
one hundred years. The world-renowned name in outboard
motors had its humble beginnings in Wisconsin. Designed,
developed, and manufactured in the Milwaukee area, Evinrude
was founded in 1909 by Ole Evinrude.
The story of Ole Evinrude begins with his birth in Norway
April 19, 1877, and continues with the emigration of his family
to Wisconsin in 1882. There they settled on a farm in Jefferson
County near Cambridge, Wisconsin, along the shores
of Lake Ripley. Ole was one of eleven children born to
Andrew and Beatta (Dahl) Evinrude. In his homeland,
Andrew, who came from a family of seafaring men, was a
farmer and landscape gardener. The men in his wife’s family
had been machinists and blacksmiths for generations. The
Evinrudes settled into a life much like that of thousands of
other Scandinavian and German emigrants who came to
Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakotas. These settlers were
an industrious, thrifty, and self-reliant group of pioneers.
Ole’s formal schooling, in which he learned to read, to write,
and to perform basic math skills, ended with the third grade.
A Wisconsin Legend
Ole Evinrude
His Outboard Motor
by Ralph E. Lambrecht
WHi Image ID 36551
Ole Evinrude, undated
201718_EP.qxd 2/3/06 7:08 PM Page 17
18 w w w . w i s c o n s i n h i s t o r y . o r g
covered the boat parts, chopped
them up, and consigned them to the
wood stove. Undaunted, Ole immediately
began to construct another boat on a woodlot
that was rarely frequented by his father. There,
with scrap lumber from the farm and the neighborhood,
he created an eighteen foot boat with a
sail. While his father was away for a few days, Ole
assembled the boat and had it floating in the lake by the
time his father returned. This time his father relented, and
Ole began taking people for Sunday afternoon excursions
around Lake Ripley for twenty-five cents a trip, realizing
as much as five dollars for the day’s efforts. His mother had
However, during his school days, Ole had
access to more than third grade arithmetic since he
attended a single-room schoolhouse, which
instructed students through the eighth-grade level,
and it was said that he could do all the problems in
the arithmetic book up to that eighth grade level.
By the age of ten, Ole was helping his father full
time on the family farm. Nevertheless, there was something
else on Ole’s mind; perhaps inspired by the beauty
of nearby Lake Ripley. At the age of fifteen, he started
to fashion the parts of a wooden boat, which he had to
keep hidden from his strict father who did not tolerate
adolescent foolishness. However, his father dis-
Courtesy of the author
Norwegian Emigrant Museum
Above: Ole Evinrude making good use of his invention
Below: Evinrude’s production prototype of his first line of motors. This version of his initial 1907 model would sell
for $62 in 1909 and jumpstart his company.
201718_EP.qxd 2/3/06 7:09 PM Page 18
S P R I N G 2 0 0 6 19
always supported Ole, and his father, too, came to understand
that farming would never be Ole’s specialty.
At the age of sixteen, with his father’s consent, Ole walked
the twenty miles to Madison and found a job at Fuller and
Anderson, a farm machinery manufacturer. His starting
wage was fifty cents a day. At first, he was just a helper in the
machine shop but before long found himself operating a drill
press and later learning the art of the lathe and milling
machine. After his ten-hour days, he returned to his rooming
house and read all the books and magazines he could find on
mathematics, mechanics, and engineering. He had discovered
the library where he could borrow these wonderful
books for nothing. He worked for several other Madison
machine shops, the last of which made electric motors, where
he discovered and learned to operate a variety of machine
tools. Subsequently, Ole moved to Pittsburgh and found work
in the rolling mills where he learned about steels and metallurgy.
Returning to Wisconsin, he gained experience in
engine building first with Fairbanks and Morse and then with
Frazier and Chalmers. He learned to make patterns, to use a
drawing board, to design, and to invent. In 1900, now 23, he
moved to Milwaukee to become the head of the pattern shop
of the E. P. Allis Company.
In Milwaukee, Ole found lodging at Mrs. Doyle’s boardinghouse
on the corner of Florida and Grove (now South 5th
Street) on Milwaukee’s south side. With a steady income and
Courtesy of the author
One of Bess’s early efforts at advertising,
and her first national ad, featuring the
“Don’t Row” slogan, 1910
Courtesy of the author
Bess Evinrude,
Ole’s wife and business partner
201718_EP.qxd 2/3/06 7:09 PM Page 19
20 w w w . w i s c o n s i n h i s t o r y . o r g
skills necessary to aid in the support of the family. Ole also
noticed her but was too shy to let on.
Ole’s engine took shape and one evening the engine was
ready for its first test run, but Ole had forgotten to buy gasoline
that day. To compensate, he hooked it up to the illuminating
gas pipe in the basement of the house. It started on the
second turn of the crank with, in Ole’s words, “more noise
than a shotgun.”1 The others, already at the dinner table
upstairs, were suddenly cast into darkness as the muffled
explosion shook the house, and the gas lights went out. The
engine had immediately consumed all the gas coming into
the house. Mrs. Doyle was equal to the occasion and order
was soon restored, along with the lights. Ole never fired up
the engine in the basement again.
A few years later, Ole formed a partnership with a man
named Clemick to produce gasoline engines. Bess Cary, now
18 and working days at a machine shop, came in the evening
to keep the books for Clemick and Evinrude. The firm
received an order for fifty engines from the U.S. government,
and the partnership appeared to be on its way to becoming a
success. However, Clemick and Evinrude differed on which
course the company should follow, and the partnership
ended. Ole tried to go it alone with the newly-formed Motor
Car Power Equipment Company but was unsuccessful.
Overextended, physically and financially, he returned to the
trade of pattern making, setting up his own shop on the second
floor of John Obenberger’s forge business on Lake Street
(now Pittsburgh Street). With Beth’s assistance, (their partnership
was becoming more than a business arrangement)
Ole started to make headway. Ole had learned something
from his previous ventures.
Not long after, on a Sunday afternoon, Ole, Bess, and
some friends had taken a picnic lunch out to Lake Okauchee
west of Milwaukee. After lunch, Bess expressed an interest in
getting some ice cream from a shop on the other side of the
lake. As the story goes, Ole jumped into a boat and rowed
across the lake to get the ice cream at a place called Schatz’s
that was some two miles away. The ice cream melted on the
trip back across the lake, and everyone had a good laugh
except Ole. For him, the seed of an idea had been planted:
why not push the boat with a motor that you could clamp on
the stern? The seed, however, would not immediately germinate.
By this time, marriage was the most prominent thought
in Ole’s mind. A few months later, he mustered up the
courage to pop the question, which Beth answered in the
affirmative. On November 21, 1906, Ole, now 29, still shy
and wanting to avoid a big wedding, and Bess, 20, slipped
away and were married. They were now partners in whatever
happened next. They both worked with determination, and
Bess still supplied partial support to her mother. While his
pattern shop prospered, Ole settled down to his next sideline
project—an outboard motor.
some spare time, he turned his thoughts to building engines.
He built his first engine in Mrs. Doyle’s basement; a twocycle,
single-cylinder, air-cooled affair. While some of the
boarders made fun of him, Mrs. Doyle recognized that spark
of genius that lay beneath the shy, serious Norwegian exterior
and supported Ole’s efforts. At the same time, Ole had also
attracted the attention of another person two doors down the
street; a slender sixteen-year-old, blue-eyed girl named Bess
Cary. Her father had died when she was fifteen and, being
the oldest of the six siblings still at home, she took a stenographic
course at the Spencerian Business College to gain the
WHS Museum 1997.35.3a-d
The 1939 Elto Cub weighed only 8.5 lbs. and was advertised as
the “world’s lightest” outboard.
201718_EP.qxd 2/3/06 7:10 PM Page 20
The Evinrude Motor Company
In spite of his early idea, Ole Evinrude
did not invent the outboard
motor. In 1896, the American Motors
Company of Long Island City, New
York, began building its “portable boat
motor with reversible propeller.”2 Little
is known about this first gasoline
outboard, but the company allegedly
made 25 marine motors before the
turn of the century. There were several
other attempts at outboard design
between 1900 and 1907, but none was
successful until Cameron Waterman of
Detroit, Michigan, introduced his
Waterman “Porto” outboard in 1906.
Twenty-five sold that first year, and
sales rose to 3,000 in 1907. The motor
had a vertical cylinder behind the transom
of the boat with a horizontal
crankshaft and two sets of bevel gears
to produce rotary motion of the horizontal
propeller shaft. The motor, the
first successful gasoline outboard, continued
in regular production by Waterman’s
company until 1917.
In 1907, Ole designed an engine
unlike any that had come before. It
had a horizontal cylinder projecting
forward into the boat, a vertical crankshaft,
and a flywheel above the water.
The driveshaft and gear housing below
water were enclosed in a bronze housing.
This mechanical arrangement is
used on all outboard motors today,
except that the cylinders are behind
the boat transom. Ole and Russ Cary,
his brother-in-law, carried the creation
to the Kinnikinnic River and rented a
rowboat, clamped on the motor, and
took off with a roar that brought
dozens of people to the river bank. At
first critical of the effort and practicality
of the project, Bess later encouraged
Ole to clean up the design and
offer it for sale. Ole refined the design
by adding a muffler and an aluminum
manifold, and polishing the bronze
parts. He made enough parts for
twenty-five motors. A friend’s demonstration
on Pewaukee Lake in 1909 netted
ten orders. The hand-built,
Courtesy of the author
Evinrude advertisement for a canoe motor with a through-hull design.
The text reads, “Won’t you come Evinruding with me?”
201718_EP.qxd 2/13/06 2:18 PM Page 21
22 w w w . w i s c o n s i n h i s t o r y . o r g
chior, Armstrong, and Dessau, who convinced his boss that
the motors had great potential in Norway, Denmark, and
Sweden. After a trial order of two motors to be used at a
demonstration in Denmark, a firm order for six came—then
fifty more. Mikkelsen and another man were sent to Milwaukee
to call on “B. Evinrude” and negotiate a better price for
a large order. The men were amazed to discover that they
were dealing with a young woman. Bess was more than a
match for them; refusing to yield on the price, she received an
order for 1000 motors. The problems stemming from the seasonal
nature of the business were solved, and Mikkelsen
became Evinrude’s New York agent for international sales.
The Reed Street plant had become too small by 1912, and the
company moved to yet another three-story brick building on
Walker Street. Ole was factory manager and chief engineer
while Bess handled advertising and public relations as well as
general supervision of the business. Sales in 1912 rose to more
than 4,000 units and doubled that amount in 1913.
The years of relentless work started to undermine the frail
physique of Bess Evinrude. Ole had also been working long
hours for four years without a break or vacation. Ralph, their
son who had been born on September 27, 1907, was six years
old, and they wanted to spend more time with him during his
formative years. As a result, in 1913, with Bess’ health failing,
two-horsepower motor weighed 62 pounds and sold for $62.
Bess wrote an advertisement which appeared in the Milwaukee
papers: Don’t Row! Throw the Oars Away! Use an Evinrude
Motor. The remaining fifteen sets of parts were
purchased in short order, and Ole had to scramble to cover
the nearly 1,000 orders received in 1910.
Business boomed, and the company needed to expand to
a larger facility to accommodate the shop force which now
numbered 100 employees. Ole borrowed the capital necessary
and moved his business to 228 Lake Street a few doors
away. Bess and her sister, Dorothy, were handling all the
office work until Bess began a national advertising campaign.
Within three days of the appearance of the first magazine ad,
they had to hire six stenographers to handle the inquiries.
They maintained cash only transactions. It kept them afloat,
but the working conditions were crowded. Early in 1911,
Chris Meyer, President of Meyer Tug Boat Lines, put up
$5000 for a 50 percent interest in the fledgling company,
which now moved to a three-story building on Reed Street.
In 1911, production increased to more than 2,000 motors.
The business was seasonal, however, so Bess contacted several
exporters in New York to explore the sale of their outboard
motors overseas. At first cast aside, their letter was eventually
discovered by Oluf Mikkelsen, a Scandinavian clerk of Mel-
Business boomed for Evinrude in the 1910s, and the company rapidly expanded in factory space and staff.
The Evinrude day force, pictured here in 1916, numbers well over a hundred.
201718_EP.qxd 2/3/06 7:11 PM Page 22
S P R I N G 2 0 0 6 23
Ole sold his interest in the business to Chris Meyer for
$137,500; a large sum in those days. The transaction meant
Ole could afford to take some time off. He bought a big
Packard touring car, and the family of three embarked on a
transcontinental journey. Two years later, Ole bought a cabin
cruiser and toured Florida’s waterways. When the family
returned north, Ole designed a 42-foot cruiser, the “Bess
Emily,” and toured the Great Lakes. In 1917, they headed
down the Mississippi to winter in New Orleans. With rest and
relaxation, Bess’ health was restored.
The ELTO Motor Company
By this time, Ole decided that he had been loafing long
enough. He had some ideas for a new, lightweight outboard.
The processes and techniques of using aluminum had made
great strides during World War I, and Ole recognized that its
use in an outboard could result in a far lighter motor than the
steel, iron, and bronze in the Evinrude outboards being manufactured
by Meyer at the time. However, Ole had signed a
five-year no-compete contract when he sold his interest to
Chris Meyer. The contract included the rights to the Evinrude
name for outboard motors as well. Ole, out of loyalty,
took the plans for his new motor to Meyer. The new engine
was a two-cylinder model; mostly aluminum except for its two
cast-iron cylinders and its steel internal shafts and gears. It
weighed 48 pounds compared to the 72 pound Evinrude and
produced three horsepower compared to the two produced
by Evinrude’s single-cylinder engine. One of its unique features
was quieter underwater exhaust through a hollow propeller
hub. Meyer was making money with what he had,
however, and turned down the offer of a new partnership.
Ole said he would start his own company to which Meyer
responded, “You can’t compete with us. You’ll go broke.”3
In the fall of 1920, Ole started his new company with the
remaining $40,000 from the sale of his interest in the Evinrude
operation seven years before. Ole and Bess rented space
at 62 Mason Street in Milwaukee, and it was just like starting
all over again. Because they had sold the rights to the Evinrude
name, they needed a new name for the motor and the
company. Bess suggested ELTO, which stood for Evinrude
Light Twin Outboard; a simple, catchy name that was easy to
remember. Because there was more competition in the market
now, the new Elto Motor Company suffered a loss of
$10,500 the first year. Ole was back in overalls, and Bess took
over the front office. Then, in 1921, 1000 motors were sold,
followed by 2,500 in 1922. Beneath the Elto name on the
back of the fuel tank (in smaller letters) appeared “Designed
by Ole Evinrude.” In 1922, Jacob Stern, export sales man-
Courtesy of the author
201718_EP.qxd 2/3/06 7:11 PM Page 23
24 w w w . w i s c o n s i n h i s t o r y . o r g
outboard motor weighing less than 40
pounds. It was a success and grew into
larger models of the same basic design,
reaching six horsepower in 1926. This
much power could plane off a light,
flat-bottom boat, enabling it to run
over the surface of the water, and a
world speed record of more than 23
mph was soon established. The horsepower
race was on!
In 1926, the largest outboards in
the Evinrude or Elto lines were four
horsepower. The Johnson Motor
Company 6-horsepower Big Twin was
a challenge that could not be ignored.
In 1927, the Johnson 27-cubic-inch Big
Twin was boosted to 8-horsepower.
Organized racing competitions began,
and, by 1928, Johnson produced two
racing models for Class A at 8-horsepower
and Class C at 16-horsepower
using aluminum pistons to allow
higher rpm. They also used aluminum
construction extensively on all external
parts, except the cast-iron cylinders.
The Evinrude Company responded
with an 8-horsepower model in 1927
and offered 6-, 8-, 12-, and 16-horsepower
models by 1928. In 1928, Ole
Evinrude had a more innovative
approach, a 7-horsepower Elto Speedster
twin and a four cylinder Elto High
Speed Quad rated at 18-horsepower.
The Quad weighed 92 pounds and
sold for $275. It was the first four-cylinder outboard and the
first of a long line of four-cylinder engines that reached 40
horsepower in 1930 and topped out at 50 horsepower in
1946; versions of which saw much service in World War II.
Outboard racing became a common spectator sport, particularly
in the Midwest in the late 1920s and on into the 1930s.
There were even factory-sponsored racing teams. The 18-
horsepower Quad dominated competitive racing in 1928.
Conversely, Ole’s old company, Evinrude, did not fare
well in the mid-1920s. Chris Meyer sold the company in
1924, and his successor registered a $150,000 loss in 1925 as
a result of the competition from the lighter weight Elto and
Johnson motors. Evinrude was sold again to new investors
headed by August Petrie. They developed a new, lighter
motor that increased sales in 1926. In 1927, Petrie sold out to
the Briggs and Stratton Company, the Milwaukee manufacturer
of automobile ignition locks and small gasoline engines.
Steven Foster Briggs, president and founder of Briggs and
ager for the Briggs and Stratton Company in Milwaukee,
became affiliated with Elto and soon became Bess’ righthand
man. Sales rose steadily: 4,000 in 1923, 5,500 in 1924
and 7,600 in 1925.
The Competition
Meanwhile, another manufacturer had entered the business:
the Johnson Motor Company of South Bend, Indiana,
who started marketing their even lighter two-horsepower, twocylinder
outboard in 1922. The four Johnson brothers had
been involved in inboard marine engine building since the
early 1900s: including V-4, V-8, and V-12 cylinder, two-stroke
engines up to 180 horsepower; light motorcycles in the latter
half of the first decade of the twentieth century and; even dabbled
in aviation. In 1911, they flew their own airplane with one
of their light V-4 engines, becoming the first monoplane to fly
in the United States. In 1921, they developed a water-cooled
version of their light motorcycle engine which resulted in an
Courtesy of the author
These two young women demonstrate the light weight of this Elto motor.
201718_EP.qxd 2/3/06 7:12 PM Page 24
S P R I N G 2 0 0 6 25
Stratton, consolidated the resources of the Evinrude company
and now saw an opportunity to reunite Ole Evinrude
with the company that bore his name.
The First OMC
Elto had nothing to gain financially from a merger with
Evinrude. They closed out 1928 with a profit of $300,000,
the highest in the industry. Nevertheless, Evinrude had the
name and a factory on North 27th Street, which Chris Meyer
had built during Ole’s retirement. Therefore, when Briggs
approached, Ole was willing to listen. On February 23, 1929,
a merger united Evinrude, Elto, and the Lockwood-Ash
Company of Jackson, Michigan, with a combined worth of
$4,000,000. The name given to this union was Outboard
Motors Corporation (OMC). The management consisted of
Ole Evinrude, president; S. F. Briggs, chairman of the board;
Jake Stern (from Elto), vice president and general manager.
Finn T. Irgens, a brilliant engineer and Purdue graduate,
came over from Lockwood as chief engineer. OMC and
Johnson now dominated the outboard industry.
The Great Depression hit the outboard industry hard.
Outboards were primarily for seasonal recreation and leisure
in the northern states. Coming out of the merger with a debt
of $500,000 in bank loans, this was increased to $600,000
when operating deficits totaled $550,000 from 1930–1932.
Ole Evinrude gave up his $25,000 salary and never drew
another paycheck. In fact, he later contributed $50,000 of his
own money to keep the company afloat. Wages were dropped
as much as 65 percent and the factory’s hours were down to
18 per week. Lockwood, the weakest of the group, was
Courtesy of the author
Another innovative design from Ole, this
first Elto “Rudder Twin” with throughprop-
hub exhaust debuted a feature in
which the exhaust gases from the engine
were routed down through the motor
housing itself and out through a hollow
hub on the propeller, burying them under
water behind the boat. Previously, all
motors had noisier above water exhaust
systems. This is the 1920 motor that
launched Ole’s new Elto Company.
Courtesy of the author
The 1928 eighteen horsepower Elto
Quad was the first 4-cylinder outboard
motor. Ole’s son Ralph worked
extensively on this model, dropping out
of college to finish it.
Courtesy of the author
The 1929 Elto Lightweight folding
outboard was an effort to make
outboards more compact for easier
storage and transportation; an owner
would only unfold the motor to full
length when he or she was on the boat.
201718_EP.qxd 2/3/06 7:12 PM Page 25
26 w w w . w i s c o n s i n h i s t o r y . o r g
departments into the early 1930s and had learned the business
thoroughly. After his father’s death, Ralph assumed his
position as President.
Although 1935 was another good year for OMC, that was
not so for Johnson now located in Waukegan, Illinois. They
became overextended financially from building inventory too
long into the depression years. By 1935, they were operating
in receivership. S. F. Briggs and Ralph Evinrude bought
Johnson out of receivership in 1936, arranging to make a cash
purchase 80,000 of the 120,000 outstanding shares of Johnson
stock for $10.35 per share. The new group was christened
Outboard Marine and Manufacturing Corporation
(OMMC); the world’s largest producer of outboard motors.
Their product line included outboard models from a tiny
1/2-horsepower model weighing about 10 pounds up to a
40-horsepower, four-cylinder, 150-pound model. By 1937,
Johnson Motors Division of OMMC was again profitable.
The OMMC benefited financially during World War II from
the sale of many components as well as finished products to
the military; including outboard motors, emergency fire
pumps, aircraft superchargers, and instruments.
After the war, business boomed.
The Elto line was incorporated into
the Evinrude line since the models had
been similar for several years in the late
1930s. The post-war pent up demand
for boats and motors was enormous
and growing. In the 1950s, new models
were introduced with features such as
full gearshift, remote fuel tanks, and
electric starters. The top horsepower
increased from 25 in 1951 to 75 in
1960. By that time, OMC, as it was
again called (Outboard Marine Corporation),
was producing nearly
400,000 outboard motors per year
with plants in: Milwaukee, Waukegan,
and Galesburg, Illinois; Peterborough,
Ontario, Canada and; Brugge, Belgium.
They were employing more than
12,000 people and were ranked in the
top 500 companies in the U. S.
Evinrude and Elto were not the
only outboard brands born in Wisconsin.
Among the others were the Submerged
Electric Motor Company of
Menomonie in the early 1900s; the
Amphion of Milwaukee in 1915; the
1916 Burroughs of Milwaukee; the
West Bend by West Bend Aluminum of
Hartford, who also made the Elgin
brand for Sears; the Flambeau, made
dissolved in 1930. The all-time low was in 1933, however, and
in 1934 OMC made money for the first time, not to be in the
red again for sixty years. During this period, OMC added
new products to their line to help smooth out the seasonality
of the marine business. These new products included gasoline
driven pumps, small, two-cylinder inboard engines, the Evinrude
Lawn Boy lawn mower, an Evinrude camp stove, the
Evinrude Speedibike, and the Evinrude Shop King (a multipurpose
woodworking unit).
In 1933, Bess’ health took a turn for the worse and she
died that year. Ole was devastated by the loss. She had been
his partner in everything since their marriage. He drifted in
loneliness and, in 1934, fourteen months after Bess’ passing,
Ole died at the age of 57.
Ole Evinrude’s son, Ralph, had attended the University of
Wisconsin through the end of his sophomore year in 1927.
During the summer, he worked seven days a week at the plant
on the new four-cylinder Quad model. The following fall, he
asked his parents if he could stay out of school “for just a
semester” to finish up the project. He got wrapped up in the
business and never returned to college. He worked in many
Courtesy of the author
Ole Evinrude together with Stephen F. Briggs in 1929, the year
OMC (Outboard Motor Company) was formed from the merger
of Elto, Evinrude, and Lockwood-Ash Company.
201718_EP.qxd 2/3/06 7:13 PM Page 26
S P R I N G 2 0 0 6 27
by Metal Products Corporation in Milwaukee; the Koban of
Milwaukee, introduced in 1913; the Lauson of 1940 also of
Milwaukee; and Thor in Cedarburg, closed in 1938, then
purchased by E. C. Kiekhaefer who brought out the Mercury
outboard in 1939. Moving after the war to Fond du Lac, and
Oshkosh, Mercury Marine has prospered. Today, Evinrude
and Johnson outboards are manufactured in Sturtevant, Wisconsin
as a part of Bombardier Recreational Products Corporation.
Of a dozen or more old outboard names, most of
which were located in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan,
Evinrude, Johnson, and Mercury are the only survivors and
are the only manufacturers still producing outboards in the
United States. The Evinrude legend and name lives on in
Wisconsin and around the world.
1. W.J. Webb with Robert W. Carrick, The Pictorial History of Outboard Motors (New
York: Renaissance Editions, Inc., 1967), 33.
2. Ibid., 20.
3. History, Outboard Marine Corporation, in-house publication (Milwaukee: Outboard
Marine Corporation, 1959), author’s collection.
About the Author
Ralph Lambrecht is a retired engineer
(1987 from Outboard Marine Corporation)
living in Lake Bluff, Illinois. A
Purdue University graduate with a
degree in Mechanical Engineering, he
joined OMC in Waukegan in 1951.
While growing up in Oshkosh on Lake
Winnebago and the Fox River, his
father introduced him to boating and
outboards. At OMC, he held various positions in engineering,
in management, and in executive capacities where he also
made the acquaintance of Ralph Evinrude, Steven F. Briggs,
and Clarence Johnson, the youngest of the four Johnson
brothers. He now occupies himself developing boating safety
standards in association with the American Boat and Yacht
Council and the International Organization for Standardization
(ISO). He collects and restores antique outboards as a hobby.
WHi Image ID 36553
Promotional photo from the OMC Company, maker of Evinrude motors, ca. 1938
201718_EP.qxd 2/3/06 7:13 PM Page 27

10-29-2006, 10:29 PM
so now we know the reeessttt of the story, behind our obsession. Good article but it's choppy and jumps around lol gotta piece parts togeather. nice find.

10-30-2006, 06:13 AM
While Ole didn't invent the outboard or build the first gasoline powered outboard, the real story is that Ole did build the first powerhead intended to be used as an outboard. Waterman's outboard powerhead was a motorcycle motor converted to work on his outboard.