Gas Engine Magazine

A History Of Termatt And Monahan Company

By Staff

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.

  • Published on Feb 1, 1988
© Copyright 2022. All Rights Reserved - Ogden Publications, Inc.