Chainsaws, motorized bicycles, lawnmowers, snowmobiles and Corvette engines. What do these machines have in common? Carl Kiekhaefer’s Mercury Marine manufactured them.
Soundings executive editor Chris Landry learned this at the Fond du Lac, Wis., company’s new Mercury Marine Museum, which opened about two months ago. It was the final stop of a three-day visit to Mercury last week for a new-product introduction. Mercury debuted three 4-stroke outboards — a 75, 90 and 115 — and a 250-hp 4.5-liter gasoline sterndrive engine.
Mercury’s forays into non-marine products also included motorized bikes (Carl Kiekhaefer used one to get around during the workday.) Mercury began in January 1939 when Kiekhaefer bought the bankrupt Cedarburg Manufacturing Co., manufacturer of Thor Outboards.
The museum fills a single 5,000-square-foot room in a building Mercury shares with a children’s museum, says Mercury museum coordinator Scott Patterson.
“The museum has been talked about for a while and opening it on [Mercury’s] 75th anniversary made sense,” Patterson said.