| September/October 1978

  • Abe founder of the New Holland Engine Company
    An early but rare photo of Abe Zimmerman, founder of the New Holland Engine Company.
  • Early New Holland engine
    An early New Holland engine.

  • Abe founder of the New Holland Engine Company
  • Early New Holland engine

Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania 17022

Here is a story about the early days of the New Holland Engine, made by the firm that is now Sperry New Holland in Pennsylvania.

In 1895, Abe Zimmerman of New Holland, Pennsylvania, started a machinery construction and repair business. At this time the Otto engine was already being manufactured in Philadelphia. Farmers couldn't use this vapor-gas engine because the farms were not connected to city gas mains.

Abe Zimmerman came to the rescue, designing a vaporizer which enabled the Otto engine to run on gasoline. Farmers in the New Holland area began to buy Otto engines.

Zimmerman also got permission to sell a newly-designed engine, the Columbus, which ran on gasoline and kerosene.

Zimmerman began thinking about designing an engine of his own which would be more reliable and easier to start. Most small engines were water-cooled and Zimmerman wanted to develop one that was freeze-proof.