Reprinted by permission of Badger Steam and Gas Engine Club, Baraboo, Wisconsin, from its 1979 Yearbook.
As we have done in each of our previous yearbooks, we have again researched and compiled this history of a Wisconsin company. This year we will be sharing what we have found about 'The Wisconsin' engine, built by Lauson-Lawton Company of DePere, Wisconsin. This history will center on the gasoline engine business.
The C. A. Lawton Company was founded in 1879, just 100 years ago. They were basically a foundry and machine company, building a variety of machines needed at that time.
In 1908 the Lauson-Lawton Company was formed when Robert H. Lauson joined Mr. Lawton and they started building gasoline engines. The Lauson-Lawton Company, and the C. A. Lawton Company were two separate companies-both with the same address. Mr. Lauson was the Sec-Treas.; C. A. Lawton was President; and Edward W. Lawton was the Vice-President of the Lauson-Lawton Company. However, Mr. Lauson was not an officer of the C. A. Lawton Company.
The Lauson-Lawton Company built less than 10,000 engines in their 10 years of building them; they built engines until 1917. After 1917 the Lauson-Lawton Company was in business, but they were dealers for different items such as light plants, water systems, etc. Since the production records are no longer available, the exact number of engines built cannot be known, or can the engines be dated.
All Wisconsin engines are of the side-shaft type. One very interesting fact about 'The Wisconsin' engines is that the hole which goes through the base of their engines, right behind the cylinder, is to enable one to remove the wrist pin, or piston pin, without removing the piston from the cylinder. The pin can be slid out of the piston and through this hole.
Lauson-Lawton built 12 sizes of engines from 1908 until 1912. There were the 2?, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20 HP. In 1912 one more size was put on the market-the 1? HP. In 1913 two more sizes of engines were introduced; they were the 24 and the 30 HP. In 1914 the 2 HP was built, making a total of 16 various sizes that were produced.
Although Lauson-Lawton stopped manufacturing in 1917, the C. A. Lawton Company is still in business today, at the same location in DePere. This company which is celebrating its 100th year, this year, builds custom hydraulic presses, shuttle presses, electronic press controls, molding machines, injection molding machines, paper roll wrappers and nydron gears.
Although many believe there was a direct connection between the Lauson-Lawton Company of DePere, and the John Lauson Company of New Holstein, Wisconsin, we were not able to find any facts which proved this.
Research showed that Robert H. Lauson was a first cousin of John Lauson; John Lauson did not own any of the stock in the Lauson-Lawton Company. We realize there were many similarities in 'The Wisconsin' engine and the Lauson 'Frost King' engine, however, we found no actual facts to prove any connection.