Next to the Lawn Mowers…
Department store brands brought boating to the heartland. Over the years outboard builders re-branded their products for private retailers, getting more of us on the water.
|BRAND||BUILT BY||SOLD AT|
|Firestone||Scott-Atwater, West Bend||Firestone Tire Stores|
|Elgin, Motorgo,||Sears, Waterwitch Caille, Evinrude, Johnson, Lockwood||Sears-Roebuck|
|Sea Bee||Gale||Goodyear Tire Stores|
|Sea-Flyer||Champion, Gale||B.F. Goodrich Tire Stores|
|Wizard||Chrysler, Mercury, Scott-Atwater||Western Auto Supply|
"They Called It What?"
Odd names and odder histories:
• Aquabug: A micro-horsepower kicker with interchangeable gas or electric powerheads.
• Chris-Craft: Yep, Chris-Craft built engines from 1949 to 1953 to power its smaller boats.
• Evenride: A ripoff of you-know-who that quickly died in the 1960s.
• Fageol: Not a pasta, but a small four-stroke car engine with a beefed-up Scott-Atwater lower unit.
• Fussomatic: A goofy one-off built for Mercury to show the worst features of other brands.
• Gopher: A motor produced by a professor and his students in the 1920s.
• Harley Davidson: Experimented around 1920 but sold none.
• Lionel: From the company that gave us toy trains.
• Nip-N-Tuck: Matched set of electric trolling motors, one for each side of your canoe.
• Ro-No-Mo: Like the No-Ro, Motorow, and Row-No-More. Who needs oars?
• Submerged: A 1906 electric outboard that predicted gas engines were a fad. It soon sank.
• Ted Williams: Sold through Sears in the 1960s in an attempt to capitalize on his angling exploits.
• Walnut: Died before Evinrude made outboards popular. Could have been a contender. Nuts!
Doing Its Part
By the time production of recreational outboards was formally halted in February 1942, most builders were already doing other work for the military. Germans, however, were proving the value of outboard-powered boats to ferry troops over rivers, and America soon followed. Outboards were used to move pontoon bridges, and 300,000 Allied troops were ferried over the Rhine by outboards in just 24 hours. Outboards of up to 50 hp-huge for the day-were used for reconnaissance. The Navy developed a rescue kit with an inflatable boat and an outboard that could be dropped to downed fliers. It was responsible for saving 700 airmen.