A History of Termatt and Monahan Co.
Courtesy of the Oshkosh Public Library
As in the past. we are again writing a history of a Wisconsin farm equipment
company in this yearbook. This year we have chosen the Termatt & Monahan
Company of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, known as T&M.
In 1892 Mr. John Termatt and Mr. Louis Monahan formed a partnership to build
gas and gasoline engines. This business was sold out in 1902 to Western
Malleable & Grey Iron Company. of Milwaukee. Wisconsin. This firm was later
to become the Simplicity Engine Company of Port Washington, Wisconsin.
In 1903 Mr. Termatt and Mr. Monahan again organized another engine company
called T&M. Along with a partner, E. Homer Fahrney, their business consisted
mainly of small marine engines. These proved very successful; larger and
larger marine engines followed using multiple cylinders up to a large 190
HP, 4 cylinder.
1912 was the year that T&M built their first 4 cycle engine with a 2 1/2
inch bore and 3 1/2 inch stroke. By 1906 the T&M Company was building small
engine-driven generators for farm and home use. Just before WW I the U.S.
Army contracted the company to build 2000 small engine-driven generators for
Also about this same time they began building engine-driven pumps for farm
and home use. These were built using different types of pumps. Some of their
pumps were used to help build the Panama Canal, and some were with Admiral
Byrd on his expedition to the South Pole.
1914 was the year that T&M came out with the hopper-cooled, 4 cycle farm
engine. It was also the same year that T&M marine engine business
reorganized under the name of Universal Motor Company. Just what really
happened we were not able to find out for sure. However, it appears that the
marine engine business became Universal, and Mr. Termatt and Mr. Monahan
retained the T&M Mfg. Company and built farm type engines under the old T&M
name. These engines were built in 1, 1 1/2, 2 1/2, 4, 6, 9, and 12 HP sizes.
The engines up to 4 HP used a spark plug and jump-spark ignition. Their
engines 6 HP and over used a make-and-break igniter ignition system
The life of T&M was actually very short. Just how many engines were built we
were not able to find. However, judging by the number of T&M engines in
collector's hand today, there probably were not a great number of T&M
After building these engines from 1914 until 1920, in 1919 the company came
out with a new 1 1/2 and 3 HP engine called the "Wiscona Pep". These were
very unusual looking engines with two fuel tanks built into the top of the
water hopper. One tank for gasoline, one for kerosene. The engine could run
on either one. In 1920 all ads and material listed T&M and Wiscona Pep under
the trade name of Wiscona Pep Motor and Parts Company, with Jos. Hauser as
President. Probably the company was sold to him.
By 1926 there was no mention of Wiscona Pep Company in the trade journals,
or in the Winnebago County directory. So it is very probable that they went
out of business in 1925. This would give T & M farm engine building business
a life of only 12 years, a very short one indeed.
Universal Motor Company was a different story. They continued a fast growth,
building many marine engines until they were the number one builder of
auxiliary power plants for sailboats in all the world. During WW II they
built 12,000 engines for powering lifeboats.
Universal Motor Company was sold in 1961 to the J M Nash Company of
Milwaukee. Today it still supplies auxiliary power plants for sailboats
using a basic engine block supplied by an outside company. They refit with
their accessories to make it useable for a very successful power plant. The
company is known today as Universal Motors Div., Medalist Industries.
We wish to thank the Oshkosh Public Library, the Oshkosh Public Museum, and
Mr. Louis Grill of Oshkosh for their help and assistance in gathering
information, and making this brief history possible.