By Staff
article image

4481 N. Williamston, Williamston, Michigan 48895

Phil Goetz worked for the Novo Engine Company for 28 years.
He found some old papers which he thought might interest owners of
Novo engines. What follows is a history of the company taken from
an internal sales training program.

The Novo Engine Company is an outgrowth of Cady & North,
owners of a small machine repair shop in North Lansing, at the
Bridge and what was then known as Franklin Avenue (now Grand River
Avenue). This was 1890.

They were succeeded by Cady & Hildreth, who took up the
manufacture of picket saw mills.

They in turn were succeeded by Hildreth & Son, who
manufactured two cycle horizontal marine engines and small farm

The name was again changed in 1901 to Hildreth Motor & Pump
Co. as being more appropriate to their line of endeavor. They
continued in the building of two cycle marine engines and small
farm pumps.

In 1906 the name was once more changed to the Hildreth
Manufacturing Company at which time Clarence E. Bement became
General Manager and the move was made to the present location which
had been formerly occupied by the Schultz Stave Mill.

Two cycle marine engines and small farm pumps were manufactured
until 1908 when the first Type S engine, 2-2 HP, vertical, four
cycle, hopper cooled, was designed and marketed to meet the growing
demand for a power unit for the continuous type cement and mortar
mixer. At this time, 25 men were employed and the foundry had a
capacity of 6 tons per day.

In 1909 another size was built, and others followed until the
complete line 1 to 10 HP single cylinder, and 12 and 15 HP two
cylinder models had been placed on the market.

From 1910 on, various types of industrial equipment were added,
including sprayer outfits and hoists.

In 1911 the name ‘Novo’ was adopted, being a Portugese
word meaning ‘New’ but early reports said it was a Latin
word, and it may have been originally derived from the Latin

By 1914, we were already making hoists, pressure pumps,
diaphragm pumps, saw rigs, plain centrifugal pumps, deep well
pumps, and small air compressor outfits… not all strictly
manufactured by us at that time, but assembled and sold with our
engines as complete outfits. Hoists and Saw Rigs were our own

The Type S engine was the foundation of the early growth of the
Novo Engine Company, over 100,000 being built in all up to and thru
1928, although it was practically discontinued by 1921 when the
multi-cylinder engines began to take their place, more along the
lines of present day manufacture.

About 1918 or 1919 we started building our own diaphragm pumps
and pressure pumps, although some of the other makes were continued
until 1925.

The first Self-Priming Centrifugal Pumps for the contracting
trade appeared about 1930 when we bought the LaBour Pump and
connected it to our engines. This was continued about 2 years, when
we started buying self primers from Union Steam Pump Company. This
also lasted about 2 years and in 1934 we started building our

In our multi-cylinder, present general type engines, the Model F
started in 1921 and lasted thru 1930. at one time this extended
from 9 to 50 HP.

It was superseded by the Model U line, begun in 1926 and
obsoleted in 1940-1. This line extended at one time from 1 to 38

It, again, was superseded by the Model C water cooled and A air
cooled line which was of short life, from 1936 to 1938-9. It was
restricted to our present range, 4 to 22 HP.

Our present CA and CW engines were a redesign of the C and A
models and were brought out in 1937.

The AG engine was originally intended for an agricultural engine
to replace the older slow speed engines on pump jacks, etc. It
proved too expensive for this field but found many applications on
our equipment and among other manufacturers. It was begun in 1931
and discontinued only in 19–. (date unclear original)

The A-16 engine was also an odd engine, begun in 1936 and
discontinued in 1944.

AD-3 and AD-4 Diaphragm Pumps were begun in 1938, and the
Pavement Breaker in 1936.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines