What is considered the first generally known outboard boat motors that the public became familiar with was developed by a man who’s name was ( and this is no joke ) Cameron B. Waterman, in 1905 and located in Detroit, Michigan. His first engine was made from a single cylinder Curtis motorcycle engine and was chain driven, which had to have thrown up an amazing shower of water.
In 1906, Mr. Waterman hired Oliver Barthel, a consulting engineer also from Detroit, to improve and refine his motor. This newer outboard motor was water cooled and the boat propeller was driven by exposed beveled gears that used the water for lubrication. Later that year the engine was changed to be air cooled that made it lighter with less parts. About 25 of these motors were produced in 1906.
In 1907 Waterman, for some reason lost in history went back to a water cooled engine design. This new model also had twin flywheels to reduce vibration. Production increased to around 3,000 in 1907.
In 1909 there appeared an ad in a magazine called the National Sportsman for the Waterman outboad that seemed to target fisherman in the ad, which is still the true today for outboard motors.
By 1915 the Waterman motor had many improved systems that included a reversable boat prop and a powerhead that could be taken off and used as a portable engine around the farm. A total 30,000 of Watermans little gems were sold by the end of that year.
In 1917 he sold the rights to his motor to Arrow Motor and Marine Company located in New York who produced them until 1921. They went out of business in 1924 and the Waterman outboard boat motors became a part of history.