Guest Author: Robb White
I think the invention of the small outboard motor was at least as exciting as the invention of the television set and a much better thing for civilization. An outboard motor enabled people to do something but the invention of the TV gave them an excuse not to do something. Boy, I tell you, after Ole Evinrude figured out a better way to go get the ice cream the industry took off. If you read Peter Hunn's "Old Outboard Book" you can follow the amazing progression and proliferation of the industry. All sorts of mechanical geniuses all over the world became fixated. Every kind of possible thing that could be invented was invented. A man named Clarke even built a little motor that had the motor part down under the water driving the propeller directly off the crankshaft... didn't have to have a water pump. In the late thirties and early forties Evinrude built a four-cylinder engine with only five horsepower. About the same time old man Kiekhaefer built a tiny little motor that would blow the doors off engines that weighed twice as much. Right after the war (that's WW II... "the war") a genius named George Martin designed a motor for National Pressure Cooker Company which is my favorite. My old two-cylinder Martin 60 of 1946 is an honest 7.2 hp and only weighs 40 pounds. I have been running it for many years. Because it is two-stroke (and that is not good anymore) I gathered up my money and went shopping. Guess what? There is no such thing as a two cylinder, four stroke engine that small and no such thing as any engine with that much horsepower any where near as light as that. OMC (Bombardier) has even discontinued the old standby, weedless, two cylinder 3hp that was the weapon of choice for small skiff people for more than fifty years. Their single-cylinder engine of that size is a piece of junk compared to that wonderful old two-cylinder model. The remarkable present-day engineering of the Japanese can't beat the work of old George Martin or Evinrude back in 1946. I am appalled and dismayed at this, but I still have my money.