Evinrude Honored

| November/December 1982

The Evinrude outboard motor, designed and built by Ole Evinrude, has been honored as a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Evinrude designed his first internal combustion engine for powering boats in 1907. He and his wife, Bess, formed the Evinrude Motor Co. in 1909 and began manufacturing what became the world's first truly successful outboard motor.

His first engine was two-cycle, developed 1 HP at 1,000 rpm, weighed 62 pounds, and used 'an engineering design that has remained standard for outboard motors ever since,' the ASME said.

When Evinrude began, other outboard 'motors' had not proved practical. In the 40 years preceding his breakthrough, methods devised to power the boats had included something a little more than a paddlewheel operated by foot, or use of steam, or storage batteries.

Evinrude, born in 1877, apprenticed in a farm machinery shop in Madison, Wis., worked in Pittsburgh and Chicago, then opened his own pattern shop in Milwaukee.

The internal combustion engine was just beginning to make headway. Ole and a partner formed the Motor Car Power Equipment Co., to build a standardized motor that could be installed in any 'horseless carriage'.