Kiekhaefer’s Greek God

A 1946 Kiekhaefer Corporation Mercury ad.

A 1946 Kiekhaefer Corporation Mercury ad. Even in 1946 bikini-clad ladies were used to sell fishing-related equipment.

Back before there were Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki, there were three individual outboard motor companies that ruled the roost. From before World War II and after, these companies had the majority of the market share of all outboard sales, often sharing almost equal portions of it. Those companies were Mercury, Johnson and Evinrude. Today we’re going to look at the start of the black motor – Mercury.

Mercury outboards was technically started in the mid-‘30s under the name of Thor and built by Thorwald Company. Then in 1939 a man by the name of Carl Kiekhaefer took over the company, for reasons other than outboard motor manufacture. Although Thorwald Company’s main business was outboard motor production, the Kiekhaefers bought the company to change it into a magnetic separators manufacturer. [Read more…]

Mercury’s Lake-X – Part Two

The infamous Lake-X observation tower. Photo Brenda Serrano.

The infamous Lake-X observation tower. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Yesterday we posted Part One of a piece on Mercury Marine’s Lake-X. Today we present Part Two of that tour with Elite Series angler Bernie Schultz and John Litjens – a long-time Mercury employee and manager of Lake-X. [Read more…]

Mercury’s Lake-X – Part One

Kelly Johnson of Lockheed fame had his Skunk Works. Mercury Marine's Carl Kiekhaefer had his Lake-X. Shown the the building where Kiekhafer and his crew of mechanics, drivers and engineers secretly worked on Mercury outboards for nearly half  century.

Kelly Johnson of Lockheed fame had his Skunk Works. Mercury Marine’s Carl Kiekhaefer had his Lake-X. Shown is the building where Kiekhafer and his crew of mechanics, drivers and engineers secretly worked on Mercury outboards for nearly half century. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending this year’s precursor to ICAST, a function known as Tackle-X, held on the hallowed grounds of Mercury Marine’s mysterious Lake-X. An “invite only” event, Tackle-X would bring industry, media and the Kirchman Foundation together for a relaxed day at the lake to talk fishing, meet with old friends and new, and visit a place few have tread on. Here’s the lead-in to the invite: [Read more…]