Testing the Waters with Marine Engines

With marine engines, farm equipment manufacturers made the leap from the moldboard to the outboard.

| November 2019

Phil Gatzow’s collection of outboard motors includes a pair manufactured by farm equipment manufacturers Oliver and White. Photo by Nikki Rajala.

Oliver Farm Equipment Co. and White Farm Equipment Co. made farm equipment. Everybody knows that. But did you know they also made outboard motors? Or that farm-equipment manufacturer Massey Ferguson got into the outboard motor business as well? Or that Evinrude Motor Co. manufactured gasoline engines?

These are just a few of the anomalies discovered by outboard motor collector Phil Gatzow of St. Paul, Minnesota, during his search for motors dating to the 1920s and ’30s.

 This 1916 Waterman outboard motor is a rare collectible. Photo courtesy Phil Gatzow.

Phil became interested in outboard motors as a kid, starting with his grandfather’s 1916 Twin Evinrude. “When I was a kid, we got it running. My grandfather showed me how to run it and everything,” he says. “About 25 years ago, I went to an auction and saw another one, and I bought my second one. Now I have several hundred motors, including a few inboards.”

Similar to the line-drive tractors developed to ease horse farmers into a new era, Evinrude used old familiar horse-rein methods in its Light Twin Outboard. “You tied a rope to a Y-arm in the back of the motor that turns the rudder, run the rope around the inside of the boat, so no matter where you were in the boat, you just pulled the rope to turn. It’s like the reins on a horse.”


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