A History Of Termatt And Monahan Company

the T & M engines

By the very early 1920's, at the end or their production the T & M engines had a new look as this photo shows.

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Reprinted with permission from the 1987 issue of the Badger Steam and Gas Engine Club program book.

As in the past, we are again writing a history of a Wisconsin farm equipment company in this yearbook. This year we have chosen the Termatt & Monahan Company of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, known as T & M.

In 1892 Mr. John Termatt and Mr. Louis Monahan formed a partnership to build gas and gasoline engines. This business was sold out in 1902 to Western Malleable & Grey Iron Company, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This firm was later to become the Simplicity Engine Company of Port Washington, Wisconsin.

In 1903 Mr. Termatt and Mr. Monahan again organized another engine company called T & M. Along with a partner, E. Homer Fahrney, their business consisted mainly of small marine engines. These proved very successful; larger and larger marine engines followed using multiple cylinders up to a large 100 HP, 4 cylinder.

1912 was the year that T & M built their first 4 cycle engine with a 2? inch bore and 3? inch stroke. By 1906 the T & M Company was building small engine-driven generators for farm and home use. Just before WW I the U. S. Army contracted the company to build 2000 small engine-driven generators for them.

Also, about this same time they began building engine-driven pumps for farm and home use. These were built using different types of pumps. Some of their pumps were used to help build the Panama Canal, and some were with Admiral Byrd on his expedition to the South Pole.

1914 was the year that T & M came out with the hopper-cooled, 4 cycle farm engine. It was also the same year that T & M marine engine business reorganized under the name of Universal Motor Company. Just what really happened we were not able to find out for sure. However, it appears that the marine engine business became Universal, and Mr. Termatt and Mr. Monahan retained the T & M Mfg. Company and built farm type engines under the old T & M name. These engines were built in 1, 1?, 2?, 4, 6, 9, and 12 HP sizes. The engines up to 4 HP used a spark plug and jump-spark ignition. Their engines 6 HP and over used a make-and-break igniter ignition system.

The life of T & M was actually very short. Just how many engines were built we were not able to find. However, judging by the number of T & M engines in collectors' hands today, there probably were not a great number of T & M engines built.

After building these engines from 1914 until 1920, in 1919 the company came out with a new 1? and 3 HP engine called the 'Wiscona Pep'. These were very unusual looking engines with two fuel tanks built into the top of the water hopper. One tank for gasoline, one for kerosene. The engine could run on either one. In 1920 all ads and material listed T & M and Wiscona Pep under the trade name of Wiscona Pep Motor and Parts Company, with Jos. Ha user as President. Probably the company was sold to him.

By 1926 there was no mention of Wiscona Pep Company in the trade journals, or in the Winnebago County directory. So it is very probable that they went out of business in 1925. This would give T & M farm engine building business a life of only 12 years, a very short one indeed.

Universal Motor Company was a different story. They continued a fast growth, building many marine engines until they were the number one builder of auxiliary power plants for sailboats in all the world. During WW II they built 12,000 engines for powering lifeboats.

Universal Motor Company was sold in 1961 to the J. M. Nash Company of Milwaukee. Today it still supplies auxiliary power plants for sailboats using a basic engine block supplied by an outside company. They refit with their accessories to make it useable for a very successful power plant. The company is known today as Universal Motors Div., Medelist Industries.

We wish to thank the Oshkosh Public Library, the Oshkosh Public Museum, and Mr. Louis Grill of Oshkosh for their help and assistance in gathering information, and making this brief history possible.