Gray Motor Company Tidbits
Gray Motor Company of Detroit, Michigan
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GRAY Motor Company
Facts & Engine Naming Data
C. H. Wendel, long time antique engine researcher and author, mentions
in his book on stationary engines some facts on the GRAY Motor Company,
and their engines. Some of the highlights are ........
Come 1906, Gray Motor Company of Detroit had it's foot firmly in the door of being
a marine engine builder. By 1908 they were producing one, two, three, and four cylinder
engines, of horsepower ranging from 2 1/2 to 40.
Gray Motor Company started their line of horizontal hopper cooled engines in 1911.
Circa 1914 the Gray Motor Company had come up with some fancy names for
their offspring ........
Wonder why no Old Faithful !
- 2 1/2 h.p. was dubbed as the Gray Wizzard
- 4 h.p. came out of the gates as the Gray Thoroughbred
- 6 h.p. was simply named the Big 6
- 9 hp earned it's title as Honest John
- 12 hp became Big Reliable
In the year of 1916, Gray started cranking out throttled governed, multi-cylinder engines.
And sadly, in 1920 Gray throws in the towel on the stationary engine front,
but keeps on with their water toys, ie., marine engines.
The following data is from the October 1989 Issue of Gas Engine Magazine ...
Anybody ever hear of a "POHL" stationary engine? Me either!
According to the article on page 8, "headed", George D. Pohl
Manufacturing Company, there was a company of the preceeding name
that started manufacturing "tank cooled" stationary engines circa 1898, in Vernon, New York.
These engines ranged in size from 6 to 40 horse power. The article further states that around
May of 1912 POHL started manufacturing "hopper cooled" engines from 6 to 12 h.p.
Now, the part of the article that caught my eye, was that it stated...."Some of the engines
under 5 h.p. were bought from other companies such as GRAY, Thompson,
Hollbrook & Armstrong, and Brownwall.
Therefore, the moral of the story is........ "If you ever see a engine that reminds you of a "GRAY",
with some other fellow's name on it, it just might really be a "GRAY" Motor Company product,
wearing a different badge.
The article further goes on to say that ...
" By 1918 Pohl engine production had ended "
See a 1913 T & M Catalog
for more evidence of a GRAY / Termaat & Monahan connection.
Thanks to Doug Kimball for submitting this catolog!
Note: Adobe PDF files
The TERMAAT & MONAHAN / GRAY Debate
I've heard it mentioned more than once, that Termaat & Monahan, a Wisconsin engine
manufacturing company, had a hand in the production of GRAY stationary engines.
James Onions, a fellow GRAY owner, states ~
For some reason the governor on (my) the 4HP is the same as the Termaat & Monahan!
Another GRAY aficionado says ~
I've been told that the Gray Factory burned down in 1916.
After they rebuilt they did not produce any more "Farm Engines". Some farm engines
were sold by Gray after 1916 but these were actually built by Nelson Bros. in Saginaw, MI under
contract and they did not have the Gray Name cast into the side of the water hopper.
Sorry to say, I don't have the answers to this saga, or proof of a great GRAY conflagration at
the factory in 1916. I did come across the photo below of a Termaat and Monahan, 1 1/2 H.P
engine. The year is unknown, as is the year of my GRAY engine shown below for comparison.
But, do notice, that both engine's governoring systems do appear strikingly the same!
Also ~ Not evident, but the flywheels look to have the same "web" cast in them, as shown in the
Anybody want to add to this commentary?
1 1/2 h.p. Termaat & Monahan (Gas Engine Magazine - December 1989, Page 3)
2 1/2 h.p. GRAY
For just a little more on the Termaat and Monahan Company, here's a smidgeon from
C. H. Wendel. Article, in part, from the Gas Engine Magazine, January 3, 1990
From the 1920 Volume of ASME Transactions we present some additional history of the
Termaat & Monahan Company, and specifically on Louis J. Monahan. When the latter
died on February 3, 1920 he was the president and general manager of the Universal Motor
Company at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Mr. Monahan was born at Oshkosh in 1876, and became
associated with John D. Termaat in 1902. The firm, Termaat & Monahan Company began
building engines shortly thereafter, with the company remaining under their management
until 1913. The following year Termaat and Monahan formed Universal Motor Company.
A very talented individual, Mr. Monahan was a member of the American Society of
The GRAY Motor Company was under the wings of the United States Motor Company for a while.
The article above mentions that Termaat and Monahan formed the Universal Motor Company
So many conglomerations, how is one to sort it all out! The United States Motor Company
at one time was producing twenty-eight models of automobiles, under seven names, until
itself was swallowed up by hard times, and placed in the hands of receivers in September 1911.
A post seen on SmokStak regarding the Termaat & Monahan Company........
2004 SMOKSTAK Archive
Re: Baby Oshkosh Engine
Posted By: Joe
Date: Tuesday, 4 May 2004
In Response To: Re: Baby Oshkosh Engine (Jeff)
Your OshKosh looks to have been built by Termaat & Monahan, in Oshkosh.
giveaway features are the way that the counterweight is cast as a web in
between the spokes, the J shaped mixer, the single governor weight and the
cam follower. Many of the T&M engines are virtually identical to engines
sold by Gray. There has been a lot of speculation as to whether T&M engines
were built by Gray or if it was the other way around, Gray engines built by
T&M. I think it was possible that T&M was building 4 cycle engines for Gray.
According to a history of T&M authored by Verne Kindschi in 1986, and
featured in the Badger Steam & Gas Engine Club's 1986 yearbook, John Termaat
& Louis Monahan formed a partnership to build gas and gasoline engines in
1892. This business was sold out in 1902 to Western Malleable & Gray Iron,
of Milwaukee. That company built the Simplicity engines and later moved to
Port Washington, WI. Simplicity continued after a bankruptcy and
re-organization and became a part of Allis-Chalmers in 1965. In 1903,
Messrs. Termaat & Monahan formed a company called Termaat & Monahan.
built marine engines up to 100 hp and in 1912 introduced a four cycle
engine. Their first hopper cooled engine was introduced in 1914. A
reorganization took place and the marine engines were spun off into a
company called Universal Motor Co, and T&M built the farm engines. In 1919
the Wiscona Pep line of engines, in 1 1/2 and 3 hp, were introduced and by
1920 the other hopper cooled farm engines were dropped. Acording to Verne's
history, the directories from 1920 list both T&M and Wiscona Pep under the
trade name of "Wiscona Pep Motor & Parts Co.". I think it can be safely
assumed that this was a successor to T&M, which most likely did not survive
the post WWI recession. Verne goes on to state that the Wiscona Pep company
disappears from the directories by 1926, giving T&M a lifespan in the farm
engine business of about 12 years. Universal, on the other hand, was still
in the business of selling auxilliary power plants assmebleb from outside
components when Verne wrote the article in 1986. Verne used to do a
tremendous amount of research on various Wisconsin companies and write a
history every year for the club yearbook, which he created and edited until
the mid 1990's. Sometimes his work is the only thing compiled on a certain
company. I am glad to have a complete set of those books and am grateful for
the work he has done for our hobby. I have owned a number of T&M engines and
I have not had one with a nametag. All of them that I can recall had a
series of numbers and periods stamped on the edge of the cylinder head. My 1
hp engine has 1.4.XXX stamped on it, the 1 being for 1 horsepower, the 4
meaning four cycle and the XXX being the serial number.
Gray Motor Company Letterhead - May 24th. 1909
1916 Gray Motor Company Letter
from the Manager of the Gray~Electric Department
Odds and Ends
The Antique and Classic Boat Magazine
in an article regarding the GRAY Motor Company's marine engine, the "Phantom-6-140"
states that "Gray Marine has an interesting past going back to its origin as the
Gray Motor Company in 1906. Gray was also responsible for perfecting the venerable,
still in use today, 6-71 diesel now produced by Detroit Diesel."
Early Chrysler Corporate History
By Cliff Lockwood, October 18, 1968
1910 -- Benjamin Briscoe organized the United States Motor Company, as an amalgamation of
several independents, who were encountering difficulty in securing necessary financial backing.
These included: Maxwell, Stoddard-Dayton, Courier, Columbia, Brush, Sampson Trucks and
Gray Marine, with the Thomas and other lines being added later.
1912- September 12th - the United States Motor Company in receivership.
Milestones 1865 - 1920
1907 - Decided to drop the mill supply business, and concentrate on manufacturing.
Made first die-cast bearings for Gray Motor Company.
Moved facility to 149-151 Larned Street West, Detroit.
For a change of pace -
See the Clarkson's GRAY Marine / Aero Marine Jet Pak boat motor.. NEAT !
A Gray Motor Company
Owner -Roger DiRuscio of Fremont, California
Collector and restorer of Pre 1920 marine engines ~
Vintage motor scooters ~ bicycle motors & Micro car driver.
Roger Says - This motor is part of my permanent collection.
This Gray outboard is known as the "Gearless". It has a link driveshaft,
and is one of 500 made per Peter Hunn's old outboard book.
It is the kind of motor you search your whole life for.
A GRAY Car ?
of Turku, Finland
A Little more information about Gray
automobiles. They were manufactured
by Gray Motor Co., Detroit, Mich.,
in years 1922-1926. There is also
Gray-Dort which was made in Canada.
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