The Ohio Connections


| September/October 1995



8710 Vickery Road Castalia, Ohio 44824-9777

I was very interested in the insert from the Stephen B. Church catalog that was printed on page 3 of the April 1995 GEM, along with C. H. Wendel's comments. While I cannot offer an exhaustive explanation of all details surrounding the Joy engines, I can lay a good foundation, and perhaps some other GEM reader will have a further contribution. Most of my data is from local newspaper articles, directories, etc., and reflects the acccuracy one would expect from these sources. I have very little technical information on these engines.

To begin with, I assume that Stephen B. Church is a distributor of the pictured engines, and not a manufacturer. Further, to fully comprehend the following story, one must understand that there are three separate (but closely intertwined) companies involved: the Ohio Motor Company, the Ohio Engine Sales Company, and the Ohio Engine Company. At one point during 1915, all three of these firms were operating concurrently in Sandusky, Ohio.

The early history of the Ohio Motor Company is very interesting, dynamic, and unusual. Unfortunately I have not yet been able to find all the pieces to that puzzle, so that will have to wait for another time. Let me just say that the Ohio Motor Company had by 1901 settled upon their standard line of engines that would be built for the remainder of the company's life. Their early design engineer had left for greener pastures, and the Ohio Motor Company was owned by local investors who were businessmen, not mechanics. The day-today operation of manufacturing engines was attended to by a father-son team, Albert and George Schwer.

There are some hints that they were contemplating manufacturing automobile engines in 19081911 time period, and also may have experimented with aircraft engines, but the sources of these hints were written in second-generation memoirs almost fifty years after the firm folded, so the accuracy in this matter is open to question. Essentially, the company did not introduce any new model lines or make any major technological advances throughout the life of the firm. To the best of my current knowledge, their line of horizontal, four-cycle, side shaft engines (from four to fifty horsepower) were the only product that they built themselves, although other engines were marketed under their name, and with nameplates reading 'The Ohio Motor Company.'

It is noteworthy that Ohio Motor Company president Henry Strong was also the vice-president of the Bay View Foundry Company in later years. Apparently The Ohio Motor Company did not supply their own castings in later years, although they may have done this early in the company's life. In an interesting newspaper article covering the Bay View Foundry, it was noted that their facility was operated by two fifty horsepower Ohio Motor Company engines. One of the engines drove a generator to supply the plant with electricity, and the other engine operated a line shaft network. I would love to see a picture of their engine room!