Contact Partners Manufacturers Inboard More Info Home


Search by Manufacturer

Search by Horsepowers

Evinrude Outboard Motors is a company that builds a major brand of outboard motors for boats. Founded by Ole Evinrude in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1907, it was formerly owned by the Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC), and is now owned by Bombardier Recreational Products.


The idea for Ole Evinrude's invention, a detachable internal-combustion engine mounted on outboard brackets or on the stern of a boat, first took root in the early 1900s. A pattern maker by trade, Ole Evinrude built his first outboard motor in 1907. To this day, outboard motors employ basically the same technology: a vertical crankshaft, horizontal flywheels, and set of bevel gears, but modern motors propel boats faster than the 1907 version (150 mph versus 5 mph).

Ole Evinrude was born in Oslo, Norway on April 19, 1877; five years later, his family emigrated to the United States, settling near Cambridge, Wisconsin. Interested in mechanics from an early age, Evinrude became an apprentice machinist at age 16 and eventually a master pattern maker, as well.

1979 Evinrude 70 HP outboard, cowling and air silencer removed, exposing its shift/throttle/spark advance linkages, flywheel, and three carburetors

Along with a growing number of people at the turn of the century, Ole Evinrude was fascinated by the potential of the newly developed internal combustion engine, and he set up a firm to build small engines.

While Evinrude concentrated on the mechanical and engineering aspects of the new firm, he entrusted the bookkeeping and business end of the firm to his assistant, Bessie Cary. The story surrounding Evinrude's invention of the outboard boat engine revolves around a picnic that Cary and Evinrude enjoyed on Okauchee Lake, in the lake country west of Milwaukee, two and one-half miles from shore. Cary expressed a desire for a dish of ice cream and Evinrude rowed back to shore for it. Of course, the ice cream was melted by the time he returned, but Evinrude, inspired by the incident, was determined to design an engine that would replace the oar as a means of boat propulsion.

Cary and Evinrude were married in 1906. In 1907, Evinrude founded Evinrude Motors in Milwaukee. The firm immediately began to develop its first outboard motor, a one-cylinder, 1.5 hp (1.1 kW) model, which became an instant success upon its introduction in 1909.

Because of Bessie's poor health, the Evinrudes sold their company in 1913, and Ole agreed to not re-enter the outboard motor business for five years. His inventive mind kept busy, however, and during his "retirement", he devised a much-improved, two-cylinder outboard engine. In 1921 he and Bessie formed the ELTO Outboard Motor Company (ELTO standing for Evinrude's Light Twin Outboard). This new outboard engine was also very successful, and in 1929 the ELTO company merged with the original Evinrude company (since renamed the Outboard Motor Corporation) and the Lockwood Motor Company, with Evinrude the president of this new company.

Bessie, who had retired in 1928 for health reasons, died in 1933 in Milwaukee. Ole Evinrude died the following year on July 12 in Milwaukee, and the company was taken over by their son, Ralph. In 1936 the Evinrude company merged with the Johnson Motor Company to form the Outboard Marine Corporation, which has enjoyed continuing success in the outboard motor business.

Evinrude's name continues today not only on many an outboard motor but also by the presentation of the Ole Evinrude Award. Given annually by the New York Boat Show, this award is presented in recognition of an individual's contributions to the growth of recreational boating.


Evinrude outboards produce primarily two stroke engines for their models, ranging from 25 hp (19 kW) to a 3.4L V6 300 hp. They used carburetors until the late 1990s, when FICHT, a fuel injection technology, was introduced. However, FICHT proved to be an unreliable system.

After Bombardier acquired the Evinrude and Johnson Outboards brands, the questionable FICHT technology was replaced by E-TEC direct fuel injection. This improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, oil usage, noise levels, and maintenance needs. Evinrude E-TEC was the first outboard engine technology to win the American Environmental Protection Agency 2005 Clean Air Excellence Award, which recognizes low emission levels. It is also recognized as acceptable for use by the European Union.

Today the Evinrude motor is built and assembled in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, south of Milwaukee.



Copyright © 2009
All rights reserved.