Tag treatment masked engines' identity
Above: In this workroom, belts from the first floor were connected to a lineshaft that stretched the length of the building. The 25-hp Alamo engine in the background ran the shaft, which featured wooden bearings, a steel shaft and flat pulleys. The belts ran the tooling machines. At center: more than two dozen flywheels. Castings were made using wooden patterns and sand from the company grounds. The housings at the lower right marked with the numeral 3 would become 3 hp units. Photo courtesy of Herb Hine, Hillsdale, Mich.
The Alamo Manufacturing Co. was organized in 1901 in Hillsdale, Mich. The company's name changed to the Alamo Engine Co. in 1917. Starting with an initial investment of $25,000, the company produced stationary gasoline engines as a power source in the era before electricity was widely available.
By 1915, the company's capital worth was $350,000, and about 300 men worked for the firm. Annual sales reached $500,000. Workers built about 116,000 high quality engines ranging in size from 1-1/2 hp to 120 hp before the company was dissolved in 1932.
Because the sales function was left to other entities, who attached their own nameplates, the Alamo is not as well known as it might have been. The Lansing Co., Lansing, Mich., sold Alamo engines and those from other builders as well. The Empire Cream Separator Co. of Bloomfield, N.J., sold Empire Alamo engines. The Moline Plow Co., Moline, Ill., named their Alamo engines "Flying Dutchman" engines. The Rock Island Plow Co., Rock Island, Ill., sold more Alamos than all other agents.