Novo E]ngines

Content Tools

4481 N. Williamston, Williamston, Michigan 48895

Phil Goetz worked for the Novo Engine Company for 28 years. He found some old papers which he thought might interest owners of Novo engines. What follows is a history of the company taken from an internal sales training program.

The Novo Engine Company is an outgrowth of Cady & North, owners of a small machine repair shop in North Lansing, at the Bridge and what was then known as Franklin Avenue (now Grand River Avenue). This was 1890.

They were succeeded by Cady & Hildreth, who took up the manufacture of picket saw mills.

They in turn were succeeded by Hildreth & Son, who manufactured two cycle horizontal marine engines and small farm pumps.

The name was again changed in 1901 to Hildreth Motor & Pump Co. as being more appropriate to their line of endeavor. They continued in the building of two cycle marine engines and small farm pumps.

In 1906 the name was once more changed to the Hildreth Manufacturing Company at which time Clarence E. Bement became General Manager and the move was made to the present location which had been formerly occupied by the Schultz Stave Mill.

Two cycle marine engines and small farm pumps were manufactured until 1908 when the first Type S engine, 2-2 HP, vertical, four cycle, hopper cooled, was designed and marketed to meet the growing demand for a power unit for the continuous type cement and mortar mixer. At this time, 25 men were employed and the foundry had a capacity of 6 tons per day.

In 1909 another size was built, and others followed until the complete line 1 to 10 HP single cylinder, and 12 and 15 HP two cylinder models had been placed on the market.

From 1910 on, various types of industrial equipment were added, including sprayer outfits and hoists.

In 1911 the name 'Novo' was adopted, being a Portugese word meaning 'New' but early reports said it was a Latin word, and it may have been originally derived from the Latin 'Novus'.

By 1914, we were already making hoists, pressure pumps, diaphragm pumps, saw rigs, plain centrifugal pumps, deep well pumps, and small air compressor outfits... not all strictly manufactured by us at that time, but assembled and sold with our engines as complete outfits. Hoists and Saw Rigs were our own manufacture.

The Type S engine was the foundation of the early growth of the Novo Engine Company, over 100,000 being built in all up to and thru 1928, although it was practically discontinued by 1921 when the multi-cylinder engines began to take their place, more along the lines of present day manufacture.

About 1918 or 1919 we started building our own diaphragm pumps and pressure pumps, although some of the other makes were continued until 1925.

The first Self-Priming Centrifugal Pumps for the contracting trade appeared about 1930 when we bought the LaBour Pump and connected it to our engines. This was continued about 2 years, when we started buying self primers from Union Steam Pump Company. This also lasted about 2 years and in 1934 we started building our own.

In our multi-cylinder, present general type engines, the Model F started in 1921 and lasted thru 1930. at one time this extended from 9 to 50 HP.

It was superseded by the Model U line, begun in 1926 and obsoleted in 1940-1. This line extended at one time from 1 to 38 HP.

It, again, was superseded by the Model C water cooled and A air cooled line which was of short life, from 1936 to 1938-9. It was restricted to our present range, 4 to 22 HP.

Our present CA and CW engines were a redesign of the C and A models and were brought out in 1937.

The AG engine was originally intended for an agricultural engine to replace the older slow speed engines on pump jacks, etc. It proved too expensive for this field but found many applications on our equipment and among other manufacturers. It was begun in 1931 and discontinued only in 19--. (date unclear original)

The A-16 engine was also an odd engine, begun in 1936 and discontinued in 1944.

AD-3 and AD-4 Diaphragm Pumps were begun in 1938, and the Pavement Breaker in 1936.