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an Elto Light Twin Outboard Motor
Elto Light Twin Outboard Motor
Meredosia River Museum
Courtesy of John W. Petri
Zoom in on an Elto Light Twin Outboard Motor
The Illinois Rivermen of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century used oars to ply their way up and down the river to fish, hunt fowl, and to clam. By the 1920s, however, "kickers" or outboard motors were added to the back of johnboats. They saved the commercial fisherman time and energy and allowed him to extend his range.

Outboard motors were invented in the first decade of the twentieth century. Ole Evinrude was able to produce a reliable motor in mass production by 1910 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. By 1921, he had sold his first company and started another called ELTO (Evinrude Light Twin Outboard). This model features a rudder.

This outboard had the advantage of lightweight aluminum construction, which boosted sales. By 1928 the speed and power of outboards would be greatly increased from the putt-putt levels of 1926. This model carries the plaque "designed and built by Ole Evinrude."

a Wards Sea King Outboard Motor
Wards Sea King Outboard Motor
Meredosia River Museum Collection
Donated by Dale Pool, 1990
Zoom in on a Wards Sea King Outboard Motor
Several makes of outboards were labeled Sea King by Montgomery Wards. In the early 1930s, the Evinrude-controlled Outboard Motors Corporation had some discontinued Lockwood motors that it relabeled Sea King. By the late 1930s, the relabeling was done on some Thors of the Cedarburg Manufacturing Company, Wisconsin. In the early 1940s, the Sea King line consisted of smaller Kiekhaefer models made by Evinrude's Gale Products.

This motor is a three-horsepower single engine (an uncommon size that indicates this one may have been manufactured from 1932 to 1934) with no electric starter.

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