Gas Engine Magazine

The Ohio Connections

By Staff

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!

The Ohio Motor Company president, Henry C. Strong, was an aged
man, and conservative in his leadership. He felt that the
company’s product line was excellent, and needed no
improvements (or possibly investments) to maintain its market
position. Evidently Ohio Motor Company vice-president and general
manager George Schwer disagreed, and there was a falling out
between the two men. Formerly the two men were next-door neighbors,
but about 1913 George Schwer left the Ohio Motor Company to become
the plant manager of the Dauch Manufacturing Company of Sandusky,
builders of the Sandusky tractor. He also changed residence, moving
away from the Strong household. The Ohio Motor Company lost a good
man, and sales dropped.

Around November of 1913 a new name enters the narrative, that of
Mack H. Joy. Mr. Joy was not a Sandusky area native, but he and his
family moved to Sandusky and founded the proprietorship business
named ‘The Ohio Engine Sales Company.’ This firm did not
manufacture any engines, but was strictly a marketing venture. The
1915 Sandusky City Directory lists the Ohio Engine Sales Company at
the same street address as the Ohio Motor Company, but with a
different telephone number, and with Mack H. Joy as president and
manager of the Ohio Engine Sales Company. Mack Joy must have been a
successful salesperson, because a newspaper article of December
1914 reports that in the past thirteen months the Ohio Engine Sales
Company had sold $110,000 worth of Ohio Motor Company engines, and
$79,000 worth of engines purchased from manufacturers outside of
Sandusky. Exactly what other company or companies manufactured the
other $79,000 worth of engines, I do not know, but I hope that some
GEM reader can shed some light on this question. One should note
here that the $ 110,000 figure represents sales of the Ohio Motor
Company’s line of sideshaft engines, and the $79,000 figure
represents sales of what has become known in old engine collecting
circles as ‘push-rod Ohios.’

It is a matter of intense interest to me to know what firm
actually built the ‘push-rod Ohio’ engines. It is, of
course, possible that the Ohio Motor Company did build the engine
themselves, but the documentation that I have been able to find
locally indicates that they did not build them, but rather just
marketed them. These engines were built with either a
‘hot-head’ or with a water-cooled cylinder head style.
These engines were also marketed by the Consolidated Gas Engine
Company, New York, NewYork (see C. H. Wendel’s American
Gasoline Engines Since 1872, page 106), the Lazier Gas Engine
Company of Buffalo, New York, and possibly others. Of course, the
Ohio Motor Company already had a business relationship with Lazier
by 1914 since the large Ohio Motor Company side-shaft engines were
being sold with Lazier nameplates. A nicely restored example of a
10 HP is on display at the Cool-spring Museum. It is interesting to
note that according to local newspaper accounts, the Ohio Motor
Company also built Lazier’s line of vertical multiple-cylinder
engines ranging from 65 HP to 300 HP in their Sandusky plant.
.However, I have no verification of this from any secondary
source.

According to newspaper accounts of the time, the smallest engine
offered by the Ohio Motor Company was a six horsepower, although
the Stephen B. Church folder clearly lists sizes from 4 to 50
horsepower. Mack Joy realized that the Ohio Motor Company was
missing a lot of sales by not offering a smaller engine, and he
further realized that company president Henry Strong could not be
persuaded to add the smaller engines to his product line. Rather
than continue to sell small engines built by outside concerns, Joy
opted to enter the small engine manufacturing industry himself. In
December 1914 a new firm was incorporated, the Ohio Engine Company.
Mack Joy was president, and Charles S. McCarthy (Sr.) was
superintendent. Mr. McCarthy also was not a Sandusky native, and
first appears in the 1915 Sandusky City Directory as being
‘retired.’

The Sandusky Foundry and Machine Company had recently vacated
its former property, and had entered a new plant facility.
Newspaper accounts of the time indicate that the Ohio Engine
Company found a temporary home in an old building of the Sandusky
Foundry &. Machine Company, and began manufacturing operations
about early April of 1915. According to newspaper accounts they
built engines in the 1 to 6 horsepower range, although the Stephen
B. Church folder clearly lists sizes from 2 to 12 horsepower. I
presume (but cannot prove at this time) that these engines carried
name tags identifying them as Joy engines.

It should be noted at this point that the Ohio Engine Sales
Company is now apparently disbanded. The Ohio Engine Company
continued the sales function offered by the former Ohio Engine
Sales Company, that is to say, the Ohio Engine Company built and
sold the engines that it manufactured, while continuing to act as a
sales agent for the larger sideshaft engines built by the Ohio
Motor Company. Evidently the Steven B. Church excerpt found on page
3 of the April 1995 GEM is dated from this time period. On the
upper portion of the page is the Joy engine built by the Ohio
Engine Company, and on the lower portion of the page is pictured
the large sideshaft engine built by the Ohio Motor Company. This
lower picture appears to be identical to those found on pages 325
and 354 of C. H. Wendel’s American Gasoline Engines Since
1872.

The venture was short-lived, however, as the 1916-1917 Sandusky
City Directory does not list Mack Joy, but only his widow,
Marguerite (or Margaret). Oddly, I have been unable to find out
anything more about Mr. Joy. I have not been able to locate even an
obituary in the local newspapers; none of his family is listed in
the Sandusky Library necrology files, nor in the local cemetery
plot listings. Even the Erie County Health Department has no record
of his death. His widow drops out of the Sandusky City Directory in
the following year. Although he had a residence in Sandusky, he
evidently died while out of the area, and the body was probably
returned to his former home.

The 1916-1917 Sandusky City Directory shows Charles S. McCarthy
(Sr.) as president of the Ohio Engine Company, and his son Charles
S. McCarthy (Jr.) as secretary and treasurer. Evidently they
continued the manufacture of engines for some time, but I do not
know whether or not their product carried the name ‘Joy’ or
whether they simply used the name of ‘The Ohio Engine
Company.’ Perhaps sales of the small engines were
disappointing, or perhaps Mr. McCarthy’s interests were
elsewhere, because little is heard of the Ohio Engine Company after
this time. The Ohio Engine Company continues to be listed in the
1919-1920 Sandusky City Directory, but is absent from the 1921-1922
directory.

Charles S. McCarthy (Sr.) was evidently interested in
manufacturing more than just gas engines, and developed a small
gas-powered cultivator. The ‘Me’ portion of his name was
combined with ‘cultivator’ to form the product name Mac
Cultivator. These cultivators were put into production about
1918-1919, and were probably built concurrently with the Ohio
Engine Company products in the same manufacturing facility operated
by the Ohio Engine Company. Somewhere around 1920, McCarthy (Sr.)
took the Mac Cultivator operation out of Sandusky, and presumably
the Ohio Engine Company was abandoned at this time. I hope to cover
the Mac Cultivator story in more detail when I find some time to
research it more thoroughly.

Ohio Motor Company president Henry C. Strong died in June of
1918. His firm was evidently doing poorly at this time, but
continued making the large side shaft engines on a small production
scale. By this time they were technologically obsolete, as the
original design was first produced in the 1896 time period. On
December 31, 1920 there is a newspaper article stating that the
adopted son of Henry Strong had closed a deal to sell the plant and
buildings to the Paper Producing Equipment Company. In a curious
and unexplained twist, the 1921 -1922 Sandusky City Directory shows
the Radiant Manufacturing Company with the same street address as
the former Ohio Motor Company. The Radiant Manufacturing Company
was really not a manufacturing concern at all, but was in reality a
marketing firm that sold the generating plants built by the
Matthews Engineering Company, also of Sandusky. The story of the
Radiant, however, is one that I will also save for another
article.

I hope to hear from other GEM readers who may be able to
contribute information of a more technical nature concerning the
Ohio and Joy engines, especially anyone who can add to our
knowledge of who built the ‘push-rod Ohio’ engines.
Let’s hear from you!

  • Published on Sep 1, 1995
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