George D. Pohl MANUFACTURING COMPANY

By Staff
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Note salesman signature is that of George D. Pohl. The bill is for a 10 HP hopper-cooled skidded engine.

3231 Smith Road, Canandaigua, New York 14424

Awhile ago I acquired some of Pohl’s original sales and
parts orders, along with other correspondence of that company. By
compiling this material, I have come up with a brief history of
this company. I have also made a serial number list of the gas
engines, the date being the date the engine was sold. Most engines
were sold before they were built. All engines were numbered
consecutively, no matter what style or horsepower. Some of the
engines under 5 HP were bought from other companies such as Gray,
Thompson, Hollbrook &. Armstrong and Brownwall. These engines
were numbered when they arrived at the Pohl shop. Pohl had always
shopped for the best prices on small engines and parts.

Pohl started building tank cooled engines about 1898. These
engines ranged in size from 6 to 40 HP. Around May of 1912 Pohl
started building a hopper-cooled engine in sizes 6 to 12 HP. In
most of Pohl’s correspondence the engines are referred to by
bore and stroke rather than style, horsepower or serial numbers, as
most of the engines were rerated as time went by. For example, the
7 x 12 engine started as 7 HP, then around 1905 it was changed to 8
HP, then about 1909 it was raised to 10 HP where it stayed to the
end of production.

Pohl also produced at least two 20 HP tractors using the 20 HP
tank-cooled engine. These tractors proved to be very
unsatisfactory. One of the main problems was a very weak drive
train. One owner wrote, along with his order for transmission
parts, ‘the tractor doesn’t run very economically on
gasoline.’

By 1918 engine production had ended. Judging from serial numbers
from records and existing engines, production was less than 3000
engines.

One of the biggest problems was Pohl had to sell engines at
prices competitive with such companies as International Harvester
and Fairbanks Morse. Then, when he did sell these engines, he
usually took a trade-in or a small downpayment with the balance due
on a note. Quite often the note would come due and the owner
wouldn’t be able to pay the note, as was the case with some of
the larger engines which went to cotton gins.

I have two of the engines, one being a 10 HP hopper-cooled
portable. This engine is restored and runs quite nicely. The second
engine is a 6 HP hopper-cooled skidded engine which I just bought
this past summer and am in the process of restoring now.

I would like to correspond with other owners of Pohl engines as
I would like to compile a list of existing engines and possibly
tell you when your engines were sold.

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines