| October/November 1989

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

  • George Companies Bill

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.


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