An outboard motor is a propulsion system for boats, consisting of a self-contained unit that includes engine, gearbox and propeller or jet drive, designed to be affixed to the outside of the transom. They are the most common motorized method of propelling small watercraft. As well as providing propulsion, outboards provide steering control, as they are designed to pivot over their mountings and thus control the direction of thrust. The skeg also acts as a rudder when the engine is not running. Unlike inboard motors, outboard motors can be easily removed for storage or repairs.
In 1907, he invented the first practical and reliable outboard motor, which was built of steel and brass, and had a crank on the flywheel to start the two-cycle engine. In 1907 he had built his first gasoline-powered outboard motor, and two years later, Evinrude Motor Company was founded in Milwaukee. The simplest type of engine the company produced was a 2-stroke internal combustion engine that was powered by a mixture of gasoline and oil.
Evinrude reported that his invention was inspired by rowing a boat on Oconomowoc Lake, a small lake outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin on a hot day to get ice cream for his girlfriend, Bess.By 1912, the firm employed 300 workers. Evinrude let two motorcycle mad teens tinker in his Milwaukee based machine shop; one was named Arthur Davidson who went on to Harley-Davidson motorcycle fame, also based in Milwaukee. Ole Evinrude formed Evinrude Outboard Motors, which he sold in 1913 in order to look after his sick wife.
In 1919, Evinrude invented a more efficient and lighter two-cylinder motor. Having sold his part in Clemick & Evinrude, he founded ELTO or the Elto Outboard Motor Company. (ELTO was an acronym for "Evinrude Light Twin Outboard".) Although Elto faced stiff competition from other companies, such as Johnson Motor Company of South Bend, Indiana, Evinrude's company survived through acquisitions, eventually forming the Outboard Marine Corporation.
His wife Bess died in 1933, at only 48 years old, and Ole Evinrude died the following year, 57 years old. After Evinrude died, his son, Ralph Evinrude, took over day-to-day management of the company, eventually rising to Chairman of the Board. The company is now called Evinrude Outboard Motors, and is owned by Bombardier Recreational Products.