Briggs & Stratton

Briggs and Stratton Corporation

(Source: Some of the data is from “The History of Briggs and Stratton Corporation,” Handbook 6166, Form No. G875110/85)

The Briggs and Stratton Corporation, which is still in operation today, was established at its headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, under the laws of the State of Wisconsin on April 16, 1909, and under the laws of the State of Delaware on June 30, 1924. Until incorporation in 1909, the company had operated as a partnership. The company was first located in Milwaukee’s old Third Ward.

During the early years, Briggs and Stratton manufactured many different products, e.g., electric refrigerators, battery eliminators, and coin-operated paper towel dispensing machines. One of the first engines produced was a six-cylinder, two-cycle engine designed by Stephen Foster Briggs.

1907 Stephen Foster Briggs started mass-producing the six-cylinder, two-cycle engines for an automobile called the Superior, of which only two touring version and one roadster were produced.
1909 Briggs and Stratton ceased production of six-cylinder, two-cycle engines because the low demand did not justify the cost.
1909, February 4 The company filed for a patent for a gas engine igniter which would replace the magneto ignition system for cars. The patent was granted on February 22, 1910. The igniter was exhibited at the auto show in New York. During this year, the company received its first contract.
1919 to 1923 Briggs and Stratton obtained the patent, manufacturing, and sale rights for the A.O. Smith Motor Wheel. The Flyer, which powered the Motor Wheel, was originally a 1-1/2 horsepower Type C, but the second production of the engine was a 2-horsepower, Type D Motor Wheel. Briggs and Stratton used the Motor Wheel to power bicycles. The Motor Wheel, which would get 100 miles per gallon of gasoline, sold for $90.00.
1920 Briggs and Stratton was a major producer of starting mechanisms, regulators, and cutout devices used in Chevrolets, Dodges, and other makes of automobiles.
February 18, 1920, through July 23, 1923 During this year, the company manufactured a two-passenger Flyer, powered by the Motor Wheel. Additionally, the Motor Wheel was used with other types of machines (e.g., the Model SD Briggs and Stratton Scooter: the company manufactured about 1,100 of these scooters, which sold for $150.00). Railroads used the Motor Wheel to power “railway inspection cars,” which could move along the tracks at 20 miles per hour. The Motor Wheel was also used to power ice skates and sleds.

During this time, the company produced a different version of the Motor Wheel that could be used to power reel-type lawn mowers, garden tractors, and washing machines. This engine, a model P, was 1 horsepower (hp).