Ole and Bess Evinrude worked so hard on making and marketing the outboard engines that in order to take time off and vacation they were forced to sell their interest in the company in 1914 to their partner Chris Meyer.
One of the conditions of the sale stated the Evinrudes would not work in the industry or start another outboard motor company for five years. During that time they travelled all around the country and Ole developed a three horse power two cylinder outboard motor that weighed 14 pounds less than his first motor that had half the horse power. He also improved on the design of the boat propeller.
After the five years were up he decided to offer his old partner Meyer is new motor but Meyer declined. So in 1921 Ole and Bess started up another company called the ELTO Outboard Motor Company ( ELTO stood for Evinrude Light Twin Motor ). This put them in direct competition with the first business they started along with a another new outboard motor company, Johnson Motors that was in established in 1922. For years the three companies battled for sales. In 1929 the Evinrude’s first and second company merged and formed one company called Outboard Motor Corporation.
In 1933 Bess died. Ole could not recover from losing his wife and partner and passed away a year later. Their son Ralph then headed up the company and in 1935 acquired Johnson Motors. The company name was changed to Outboard marine Corporation in the 1960’s. Ralph retired in 1982 after 55 years of service and died in 1986. OMC went bankrupt in 2000. Bombardier of Canada acquired full ownership of Evinrude and Johnson outboards in 2003 and have continued the outboard motors to this day.
Along with constant ongoing motor improvements over the years, they also improved boat propellers from a little 2 bladed brass prop to today’s three and four blade aluminum props and stainless steel propellers.