Marine Memories

| July/August 2003

  • Tuttle Motors

  • Blanchard Marine Oil Engine

  • Northwestern Marine Motors

  • Mianus Motor Works

  • Tuttle Motors
  • Blanchard Marine Oil Engine
  • Northwestern Marine Motors
  • Mianus Motor Works

Founded by lawyer Daniel Tuttle around 1896, Tuttle Motor Company was just one of many manufacturers of marine engines. The company got its start building boats for local trade. Engine production followed soon after, with early engines built under contract until Tuttle erected a new factory in 1899. Engines ranged from 2 HP to 48 HP, the largest being of four-cylinder layout. Tuttle followed contemporary practice of pairing cylinder blocks to make multi-cylinder units.

Herb Higginbottom's interests in engines are generally restricted to the stationary variety, but a magazine for sale at a yard sale last year caught his eye. The magazine was the May 1912 issue of The Rudder, a once-popular title for marine engine fans and owners of power boats.

As you'd expect, Herb bought the magazine, and luckily for us he sent along copies of engine advertisements from the issue. Herb's thought was we might make use of the images to help readers with engine identification, but some of the ads are simply too good to keep in a file cabinet.

Marine engines, by and large, don't seem to get the respect of their landed cousins, at least not in stationary engine crowds. In some measure that's to be expected, as many stationary engine fans are drawn to the hobby from memories of life on the farm. Many of us seek out engines our parents or grandparents used in daily life, and if you live in the interior of the U.S., that generally counts out marine engines.

Blanchard Marine Oil Engine

The Blanchard Machine Co., Cambridge, Mass., was the builder of this sturdy two-cylinder engine, which was advertised to run on kerosene and fuel oils. For 1912, Blanchard advertised engines of one- to four-cylinders, ranging from 8 HP to 100 HP.

Mianus Motor Works started building engines around 1899. Like many other engine manufacturers, Mianus also built a line of stationary engines for farm and industry.

But there's no denying the importance of the development of small, gasoline-powered engines for marine use. As small engines revolutionized life on the farm, so too did they forever alter water-going vessels and the lives of the people who piloted them.

The early manufacturers of marine engines were found in the coastal states, and of course in inland areas next to large waterways, especially states like Michigan and Wisconsin. Proximity to large bodies of water didn't define the business for everyone, however. Root & Vandervoort, for instance, took at least a tentative step toward marine engine manufacturing from its factory in East Moline, Ill.

Even obscure companies like Fairbault Manufacturing Co., Fairbault, Minn., built farm engines and marine engines side-by-side, and for a time that kind of dual focus appears to have been the norm for many companies as they worked to cement their position in the gas engine market.

Success came only to a relative few, and most of the companies shown in the ads here disappeared by the Depression.

Contact engine enthusiast Herb Higginbottom at: 91 Deep Creek Road, Enderby, BC, Canada VOE 1V3.

Northwestern Steel & Iron Works started manufacturing marine engines around 1905. Northwestern also built a line of farm engines, the earliest of which were supposedly based on the

company's marine engines. Northwestern eventually manufactured a dedicated line of horizontal and vertical single-cylinder, hopper-cooled farm engines.


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