Mercury Marine Motors: Then and Now

Mercury Marine Motors: Then and Now

It should come as no surprise to outboard engine owners that Mercury Marine grew out of the seeds of hard work and innovation. After all, the company continues to display those traits to this day. It all started in the late 1930s, in a sleepy Wisconsin burg. Company founder Carl Kiekhaefer saw potential in a failing outboard motor manufacturer and rescued its supply of originally “rejected” motors.

In those days, Kiekhaefer still had modest dreams: naming the company after himself, he hired a small crew of workers to repair the 300 or so motors and sell them to the original buyer. This retailer was so pleased with the crew’s work that they turned around and ordered another batch. Around this time, Kiekhaefer began to envision designs for a refurbished outboard engine that would put power and reliability before all other considerations.

By 1940, the company had been renamed Mercury and was creating a whole new line of engines featuring an innovative fuel system and a housing to protect the drive shaft and exhaust from water damage. As America entered World War II, public attention turned away from the outboard industry. Mercury sought and won a government contract to make 2-stroke chainsaw motors.

In the post-war years, the recreation industry boomed and people returned to lakes and rivers with one thing on their mind: relaxation. Mercury resumed outboard production and would later introduce its own line of 2 cycle oil. Today the company has expanded to put its stamp on a wide variety of products for boat enthusiasts, including propellers, electric controls and inboard engines.

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