1944 Onan Booklet

The first comprehensive history of the company, it was widely distributed to customers and friends. An example of industrial photography and layout of the time. Click to view PDF

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Stern Drives & Outboard Motors

NOT EVERY IDEA WAS WONDERFUL In the days of the Safty Saw sales decline Dave was looking for new things to sell. Out of the Prohibition bootlegging era came a technology of high powered boat engines for the “rum runners”. The Auto Engine Works of St Paul MN made engine conversions; and marine transmissions under […]

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Safty Saw

This one product propelled D. W. Onan ahead economically further and faster than anything else to date. It is my guess this was somewhat of a surprise. The saw had many uses in construction and manufacturing. It could be powered by an engine or electric motor so there were no limits to where it could […]

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Payday for Experimentation

When World War II began the government had a large demand for small, lightweight, generator sets. This 1939 promotion sheet has the answer in the bottom right hand corner. The 1500 watt unit is powered by a two cylinder opposed aluminum engine. Called the OTC, it was light weight, smooth, and too costly for the […]

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The Motor Car

Still somewhat of a curiosity, but emerging into the mainstream, it was a device of considerable mystery and no little derision. In 1906 he took a job with P. J. Downes Company of Minneapolis, distributor of Rambler automobiles. When an auto was sold frequently someone had to be taught how to drive and service it. […]

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Generators

ELECTRIC PLANTS — GENERATOR SETS — POWER PLANTS — or simply, an ONAN The story of how the first generator set came about is good enough for me. Given what Dave had in hand and his experience it is reasonable to see how he put a purchased Briggs-Stratton engine and a generator on a common […]

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Related Subjects Introduction

The preceding Onan Company History 1983 described David Onan as a mechanical genius. It certainly is true that his abilities were in his genes because he had little education. At age 16 he was working for the Niagara Falls Street Railway Company. His return to Minnesota and his active business days are described there. What […]

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