NOVO COMPANY HISTORY
Article In GEM Nov.-Dec. 1983 Issue
Submitted by Phil Goetz, 4481 N. Williamston, Williamston, MI 48895
Phil Goetz worked for the Novo Engine Co. for 28 years. He found
some old papers which he thought might interest owners of Novo engines.
What follows is a history of the company taken from an internal sales
The Nova Engine Company is an outgrowth of Cady & North, owners of a
small repair shop in North Lansing, at the Bridge and what was then known as
Franklin Avenue (now Grand River Avenue), This was 1890.
They were succeeded by Cady & Hildreth, who took up the manufacture of
picket saw mills.
They in turn were succeeded by Hildreth & Son, who manufactured two
cycle horizontal marine engines and small farm pumps.
The name was again changed in 1901 to Hidreth Motor & Pump Co.
as being more appropriate to their line of endeavor. They continued in
the building of two cycle marine engines and small farm pumps.
In 1906 the name was once more changed to the Hildreth Manufacturing
Company at which time Clarence E. Bement became General Manager and
the move was made to the present location which had been formerly
occupied by the Shultz Stave Mill.
Two cycle marine engines and small farm pumps were manufactured until
1908 when the first Type S engine, 2 - 2½ HP, vertical, four cycle hopper
cooled, was designed and marketed to meet the growing demand for a power
unit for the continuous type cement and mortar mixer. At this time,
25 men were employed and the foundry had a capacity of 6 tons per day.
In 1909 another size was built, and others followed until the complete
line 1½ to 10 HP single cylinder, and 12 and 15 HP two cylinder
models had been placed on the market.
From 1910 on, various types of industrial equipment were added,
including sprayer outfits and hoists.
In 1911 the name "Novo" was adopted, being a Portugese word
meaning "New" but early reports said it was Latin word, and it may
have been originally derived from the Latin "Novus".
By 1914, we were already making hoists, pressure pumps, diaphragm
pumps, saw rigs, plain centrifugal pumps, deep well pumps, and small air
compressor outfits...not all strictly manufactured by us at the time, but
assembled and sold with our engines as complete outfits. Hoists and Saw
Rigs were our own manufacture.
The Type S engine was the foundation of the early growth of the Novo
Engine Company, over 100,000 being built in all up to and thru 1928,
although it was practically discontinued by 1921 when the multi- cylinder
engines began to take their place, more along the lines of present day
About 1918 or 1919 we started building our own diaphragm pumps and
pressure pumps, although some other makes were continued until 1925.
The first Self-Priming Centrifugal Pumps for the contracting trade
appeared about 1930 when we bought the LaBour Pump and connected
it to our engines. This was continued about two years, when we started
buying self primers from Union Steam Pump Company. This also lasted
about 2 years and in 1934 we started building our own.
In our multi-cylinder, present general type engines, the Model F
started in 1921 and lasted thru 1930. At one time this was extended
from 9 to 50 HP.
It was superseded by the Model U line, begun in 1926 and obsoleted
in 1940-1. This line extended at one time from 1 ½ Hp to 38HP.
It again, was superceded by Model C water cooled and A air cooled
line which was of short life, from 1936 to 1938-9. It was restricted
to our present range, 4 to 22 HP.
Our present CA and CW engines were a redesign of the C and A models
and were brought out in 1937.
The AG engine was originally intended for an agricultural engine to
replace the older slow speed engines on pump jacks, etc. It proved
too expensive for this field but found many applications on our
equipment and among other manufacturers. It was begun in 1931 and
discontinued only in 19--, (date unclear original).
The A-16 engine was also an odd engine, begun in 1936 and discontinued
AD-3 and AD-4 Diaphragm Pumps were begun in 1938, and the Pavement
Breaker in 1936.
Article reprinted by permission of Gas Engine
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