Like most industries, when things are first starting out you have a lot of companies entering the market, all with their products and ideas. Eventually, the good stuff keeps on, the bad stuff goes away, and many others get bought up in the process. It’s called consolidation, and it continues on to this very day.
This portion of a 1967 ad for McCulloch outboard motors recently caught my eye. Many of you might remember the McCulloch chainsaw commercials with the beavers featured in it (see link at stories end). That is probably what most people think of when they hear the company name. However, right around the time Ray Scott was starting up professional bass fishing, McCulloch was also in the outboard motors market. This particular ad for their outboard motors also co-headlined with their chainsaws – what seems like an unlikely pairing. Not sure if they were trying to get double mileage from the ad, or if they were simply using the chainsaw mention to add brand recognition, but it was different enough to catch my eye.
The company was founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1943 by Robert Paxton McCulloch as a manufacturer of small two-stroke gasoline engines and introduced its first chainsaw in 1948. McCulloch actually got into the outboard motor market when it purchased the Scott-Atwater Outboard Mfg. Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1956. At the time, Scott-Atwater engines were pretty popular, and at one point were the 2nd largest producer of outboards in America, surpassed only by Evinrude. The foray was short lived though. In 1967, McCulloch discontinued its line of outboard boat engines and decided to focus on its core product lines of chainsaws, hedge trimmers, string trimmers, and leaf blowers. Black and Decker eventually bought McCulloch in 1974, and sold the company to a private group 10 years later. They filed for bankruptcy in 1999.