• History of Evinurde and Johnson Outboards

    Evinrude Outboard Motors is a company that builds a major brand of outboard motors for boats. Founded by Ole Evinrude in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1907, it was formerly owned by the publicly-traded Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC), and is now owned by privately-held Bombardier Recreational Products.

    Johnson Outboards was a US based manufacturer of outboard motors. The original company to make Johnson inboard motors and outboard motors was the Johnson Bros. Motor Company of Terre Haute, Indiana, United States. A few years after the Johnson brothers' factory in Terre Haute was destroyed by a tornado in March 1913, the brothers relocated to South Bend, Indiana and then Waukegan, Illinois. The company was first acquired by Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC) and then later by Bombardier Recreational Products.

    Evinrude outboards produce two stroke direct injected engines ranging from 15 hp (11 kW) to a 3.4L V6 300 hp. They used carburetors until the late 1990s, when FICHT, a fuel injection technology, was introduced. However, FICHT proved to be an unreliable system.
    In 2003, after Bombardier acquired the Evinrude and Johnson Outboards brands, the questionable FICHT technology was replaced by E-TEC direct injection. This improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, oil usage, noise levels, and maintenance needs. This is due in part by a pin point oiling system which only applies oil to the necessary components, unlike the original two stroke motors.

    Evinrude E-TEC was the first outboard engine technology to win the American Environmental Protection Agency 2004 Clean Air Excellence Award, which recognizes low emission levels. It is also recognized as acceptable for use by the European Union. When compared to a similar 2004 four-stroke engine, carbon monoxide emissions with Evinrude E-TEC are typically 30 to 50 percent lower; and at idle are lower by a factor of 50 to 100 times. In addition, Evinrude E-TEC emits 30 to 40 percent less total particulate matter on a weight basis than a similar “ultra-low emissions” four-stroke outboard. Furthermore, oxides of nitrogen and hydrocarbon emissions for Evinrude E-TEC are similar, if not lower, than a four-stroke outboard. There are no oil changes with this engine, as well as no belts, and no valve or throttle linkage adjustments. This makes Evinrude E-TEC engines easier to own than comparable four-stroke engines. In addition, numerous advancements combine to create the Evinrude E-TEC quiet signature sound including an exclusive idle air bypass circuit.

    The idea for Ole Evinrude's invention, a detachable internal-combustion engine mounted on outboard brackets or on the stern of a boat, first took root in the early 1900s. A pattern maker by trade, Ole Evinrude built his first outboard motor in 1907. To this day, outboard motors employ basically the same technology: a vertical crankshaft, horizontal flywheels, and set of bevel gears, but modern motors propel boats faster than the 1907 version (150 mph versus 5 mph).
    Ole Evinrude was born in Oslo, Norway on April 19, 1877; five years later, his family emigrated to the United States, settling near Cambridge, Wisconsin. Interested in mechanics from an early age, Evinrude became an apprentice machinist at age 16 and eventually a master pattern maker, as well.

    Along with a growing number of people at the turn of the century, Ole Evinrude was fascinated by the potential of the newly developed internal combustion engine, and he set up a firm to build small engines.

    While Evinrude concentrated on the mechanical and engineering aspects of the new firm, he entrusted the bookkeeping and business end of the firm to his assistant, Bessie Cary. The story surrounding Evinrude's invention of the outboard boat engine revolves around a picnic that Cary and Evinrude enjoyed on Okauchee Lake, in the lake country west of Milwaukee, two and one-half miles from shore. Cary expressed a desire for a dish of ice cream and Evinrude rowed back to shore for it. Of course, the ice cream was melted by the time he returned, but Evinrude, inspired by the incident, was determined to design an engine that would replace the oar as a means of boat propulsion.

    Cary and Evinrude were married in 1906. In 1907, Evinrude founded Evinrude Motors in Milwaukee. The firm immediately began to develop its first outboard motor, a one-cylinder, 1.5 hp (1.1 kW) model, which became an instant success upon its introduction in 1909.
    Because of Bessie's poor health, the Evinrudes sold their company in 1913, and Ole agreed to not re-enter the outboard motor business for five years. His inventive mind kept busy, however, and during his "retirement", he devised a much-improved, two-cylinder outboard engine. In 1921 he and Bessie formed the ELTO Outboard Motor Company (ELTO standing for Evinrude's Light Twin Outboard). This new outboard engine was also very successful, and in 1929 the ELTO company merged with the original Evinrude company (since renamed the Outboard Marine Corporation) and the Lockwood Motor Company, with Evinrude the president of this new company.

    Bessie, who had retired in 1928 for health reasons, died in 1933 in Milwaukee. Ole Evinrude died the following year on July 12 in Milwaukee, and the company was taken over by their son, Ralph. In 1936 the Evinrude company merged with the Johnson Motor Company to form the Outboard Marine Corporation, which has enjoyed continuing success in the outboard motor business. During World War II the company manufactured motors for various types of military marine craft.

    In the 1930s and 1940s, 4-60 engines were used in midgets racers. These 59.4 cu in (973 cc) water-cooled horizontally-opposed engines ran on special racing fuel: 82% methanol, 10% toluene or benzol, and 8% castor oil (which was available in 5 US gal (19 l; 4.2 imp gal) cans from drug stores), plus tetraethyl lead (also available in drug stores) to avoid engine knock.[2] They would rev close to 8,000 rpm and could produce 80 hp (60 kW), close to 1 hp (0.75 kW) per 1 lb (450 g) of engine weight.

    Evinrude's name continues today not only on many an outboard motor but also by the presentation of the Ole Evinrude Award. Given annually by the New York Boat Show, this award is presented in recognition of an individual's contributions to the growth of recreational boating.