A little nostalgia

Time Magazine Sept. 27, 1954Evinrude and Evinrude Oil in history.


Hush Money

Monday, Sep. 27, 1954

From the dock of his waterfront restaurant in Freeport, L.I., Bandleader and Boat Racer Guy Lombardo climbed into a small boat with two outboard motors on the stern. As he started up one motor and raced about the water, there was the ear-splitting racket that has come to be associated with eggbeater boating. But when the motor was turned off and the other was tried out, there was a difference. From 500 ft. away, the motor could not be heard at all; newsmen riding in the boats could converse in normal tones, hear the slap-slap of the waves against the bow. Vibration was cut sharply.

Thus did Outboard, Marine & Mfg. Co., the General Motors of the outboard motor industry, unveil its 1955 lines of silent 3-h.p. to 25-h.p. Evinrude motors. With them-plus a similarly silenced line of Johnson outboards-Outboard, Marine’s President Joseph G. Rayniak hopes to boost next year’s sales 20% over 1954’s record $70 million volume. He thinks that by attacking noise he is going after the outboard motor industry’s No. 1 enemy.

Speed Limits. Few industries have grown as fast as outboard motors since World War II. Sales have gone up from 290,000 units in 1951 to an estimated 500,000 in 1954. Rising incomes and increased leisure time have contributed to the boom. So has the do-it-yourself trend, which makes it possible to be an outboard yachtsman, with a homemade, 23-ft. cabin cruiser for as little as $859. Among real outboard fans, it is not unusual to hitch up two motors astern for added speed and maneuverability. Another stimulant to the boom has been the creation of man-made lakes and waterways in Southern states where boating has become a year-round sport, thus helping to smooth out the seasonal peaks and valleys of the industry.

But as the putt-putt industry has burgeoned, so have its troubles. Acting on behalf of many an irate non-boater, community after community has passed laws aimed at cutting down the noise nuisance of the outboards. Today some 20 states have laws limiting speed and horsepower or requiring certain muffling standards. Five states limit outboards to 7 h.p. or less.

At the Helm. Outboard, Marine’s new motors are not the first attempt to cut down on outboard noise. Evinrude, then a separate company, introduced the first underwater exhaust in 1921. After Evinrude merged with Johnson to form Outboard, Marine in 1937, mufflers and other silencing devices were developed under the direction of President Ralph S. Evinrude, son of Evinrude’s founder. But the move to silence the entire line of Evinrudes and Johnsons was made after Joe Rayniak took Outboard. Marine’s helm in a management shake-up a year and a half ago (TIME, Feb. 9, 1953). Under Rayniak, 64, who started as a toolmaker, the company spent some $2,000,000 in research on sound.* With its silent motors, Outboard, Marine, which now has about half of the market, expects to help boost the number of outboards in use in the U.S. from 4,000,000 to 15,000,000 in ten years.

*The results, in the 1955 line: air intakes are silenced, and special rubber-and-steel mounts have been added to “isolate the motor from the boat,” thus cut down the sounding-board effect of the boat’s hull. In addition, the power heads of all the company’s larger motors (10 h.p. and up) are now clamped in a rubber-sealed casing that keeps the noise in and the water out.

Copyright © 1954, Time Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.

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