History of the Vim Motor Co.
The Vim Motor Co. Made Both Marine and Portable Farm Engines
A display of 1-1/4 HP portable farm engines built by Vim Motor Co.
The Vim Motor Co. was incorporated in April 1907 with a capital stock of $25,000, and planned to build gas engines in a soon-to-be erected building in Sandusky, Ohio.
C.P. Barber was the “inventor” of the engine and an officer of the new company. Evidently Barber moved to the Sandusky area for the business opportunity as I have not found a previous record of him in local directories. Initially they set up shop in a rented building on the southeast corner of Hancock & Market streets, which was a literal stones-throw from Sandusky Bay on Lake Erie. “The Rudder” of April 1908 mentions a Vim sales presence at the 1908 Detroit Motor Boat Show.
Miller joins the fray
A gentleman named Ed Miller joined the Vim Motor Co. as a machinist early in 1909. A year later he was a sales representative traveling to many boat and motor shows, then he went on to be Vim’s sales manager. A descendant of Ed Miller has shown me a picture of the Vim display at the 1910 New York Motor Boat Show. It includes about 14 shiny new Vim marine engines ranging from 2 to 4 cylinders. Featured was the new “Extreme High Speed Engine” with “Double Three Port System.” At the front of the display was a large 4-cylinder engine equipped with two 5-ball Kingston carburetors. It was direct-connected to some type of mechanical load so that it could be demonstrated under load. That must have received a lot of attention to run a large engine under load in a convention hall setting!
It is interesting to note that Vim had developed a complete line of marine engines in two years or less, including setting up a machine shop and sales organization. Obviously they attracted some key people with good experience.
The Vim Motor Co. had a racing speedboat named VIM, also known locally as “Miller’s Pet.” It had a powerful 4-cylinder high-speed engine and used two propellers on the same shaft to make the most use of the engine’s power. Since both propellers were right-handed the speedboat was known for a propensity to slip to the right.
Changes at Vim
By the time the 1910-11 Sandusky City Directory was published all officers of the Vim Motor Co. had changed. Mr. C.P. Barber doesn’t appear again in the company history or local directories. The capital stock had increased to $45,000.
By September 1911 the Vim Motor Co. had moved into a new building at the corner of Water and Meigs streets in Sandusky. The main building was described as 132-by-80 feet of brick with a sawtooth glass and steel roof for improved lighting. There was also a 40-by-30-foot addition, which was used as a test room for the assembled motors. At this time the Vim Motor Co. employed an average of 25 men. An article in the local newspaper touted the fact that the business “began in a small way without bonuses or grants of any kind” (from the local government). The article further mentioned that “the company is now shipping motors not only to all parts of this country but to all parts of the Old World as well. Within the past three weeks it has shipped motors to Australia, to India, Sweden, Alaska and Panama.”
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