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
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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