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Early History Of The Wisconsin Motor Company

This news article was supplied to us by David Swanson of the ASECC (Antique Small Engine Collectors Club).

The WISCONSIN MOTOR MFG. CO. was organized to build automobile, truck and marine engines on March 1, 1909. Chas. H. John was elected President and Treasurer, Edw. Schwartzburg, Vice-President and A. F. Milbrath, Secretary and Chief Engineer.

The company started in a small shop in North Milwaukee where it operated until the end of 1910 when the first section of the new plant built by the company in West Allis, a suburb of Milwaukee, was ready for occupancy. The company moved into this new plant during the last week of December, 1910.

The first model of engine built was the Type "A", a 4-3/4" bore by 5-1/2" stroke, four cylinder "L" head engine. This engine was used in the Stutz automobiles, the Clintonville Four Wheel Drive trucks, and many other installations which gained considerable popularity and fame, due to their exceptional performance.

Other models of engines were brought out by the company, both four cylinder and six cylinder, until the final line included many sizes from a 20 H.P. four cylinder, to a 200 H.P. six cylinder. All of these engines were 4 cycle, WATER-COOLED.

WISCONSIN engines were also prominent in racing before World War I, and in 1915 two Stutz cars, powered by WISCONSIN engines, came in 1st and 2nd at the Sheepshead Bay, Long Island Speedway against a field of several dozen of the worlds' most famous race cars.

During the 1st War the company built only their original Modal "A" engine for the Four Wheel Drive trucks which had been adopted as the standard vehicle of the Ordnance Department.

During the 1920's, a full line of water-cooled engines was built for many varieties of installations. In 1929 the attention of the company was turned to AIR-COOLED engines and a number of single cylinder models were brought out. In 1935 a four cylinder V-type AIR-COOLED engine was added. These engines were used in every conceivable type of equipment very successfully and the demand for these engines increased so rapidly that by 1939 the air-cooled engines had entirely displaced the water-cooled line so that now only AIR-COOLED engines are being built.

The plant has been considerably increased in size and it is completely equipped with the most modern machinery and the company is now turning out 20,000 to 22,000 engines per month.

A number of changes have been made in the management of the company since the beginning. Mr. H. A. Todd has been President of the company since 1937. A. V. Milbrath, who is now Vice-President, has been in charge of engineering throughout.

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Copyright (2003) WMC  Last updated 08-17-04