Pages from the Past: Looking at vibrant ads from the Ottawa Mfg. Co.
Jim Albaitis, Ludington, Mich., sent in these vibrant ads from an Ottawa Mfg. Co., Ottawa, Kan., catalog.
“The original size of the catalog is 9 inches by 12 inches,” Jim says. “I bought the catalog at an old farm auction. The colored catalog has very brilliant colors and is in great condition. It shows all types of log saws and how they were made at the factory. It also has many statements and photos sent in by owners of the Ottawa saws.”
Jim also included an ad for a twin-cylinder Ottawa engine from the same catalog. Touting fuel efficiency and “surplus power,” the ad also includes a 30-day free trial offer.
According to C.H. Wendel in American Gasoline Engines Since 1872, Ottawa Mfg. Co. was organized some time around 1907. By 1915 the company was advertising a whole line of engines, from 1-1/2 HP to 16 HP. Making their engines attainable to farmers of all different financial means, Ottawa engines were reasonably priced, as low as $24.75 for a 1-1/2 HP. Ottawa utilized a direct-sale approach with various payment plans, too.
Ottawa introduced their line of saw rigs in 1917. The engines were available in sizes from 4 HP to 12 HP.
By the 1920s, Ottawa was one of the largest and most complete foundries in the Midwest. Unfortunately, the company went out of business in the 1950s after nearly four decades of producing engines, fencing, washing machines, feed grinders, windmills, pump jacks and straw spreaders.
If you have vintage advertisements or clippings featuring antique gas engines that you'd like to share, contact associate editor Beth Beavers or by mail at Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609.