REPRINT: HOW Your Hobby Started Part VII

| August/September 2001

This month we conclude reprinting a series that first appeared in GEM in the March-April 1969 issue. We are now at installment 7, the final segment, which appeared in the March-April 1970 GEM, and was written by Carleton M. Mull.

The brief histories of several of the successful gasoline engine manufacturers, as was mentioned in the last issue, causes one to wonder about all of the other builders who started in production of engines as are mentioned in several of the old books on this subject. Before 1910, there are records regarding the industry giving statistics on more than five hundred manufacturers of gasoline engines. How many more who attempted to get into the business is hard to surmise. We are considering only the stationary type of heavy duty engines and not those for automotive application. By the end of 1935, it is quite doubtful if there were more than twenty manufacturing companies left who had weathered the storm of competition.

Of the five hundred, the majority were located in the central states, such as Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. There were approximately two hundred and ninety companies building engines in these six states. The industry was nationwide. There were about two hundred and twenty manufacturers on the East Coast, with the largest concentration in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. There were a few companies in the South and quite a number in California. A tabulation indicates the following distribution of the sources of manufacturers in 1905:

Eastern States...............219 companies

Middle West States......289 companies

Southern States................7 companies


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