Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 142,981 pages of information and 229,144 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Briggs and Stratton

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The company was founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1908 and today is based in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Briggs and Stratton engines are commonly used on lawnmowers, as well as pressure washers, electrical generators, and a wide variety of other applications.

Their original cast-iron engines were known for their durability, but the company's success was established following the development of lightweight aluminium engines in 1953.

The aluminium engine was the perfect solution for the recently invented rotary lawnmower due to its lighter weight and lower cost. The company has developed a good reputation because of its independent central services distributors (CSDs), low cost replacement parts and well designed service literature.

The company started in 1908 as an informal partnership between Stephen Foster Briggs and Harold M. Stratton. The original intent of the founders was to produce automobiles. In 1922, the company set a record in the automotive industry, selling the lowest-priced car ever called the Briggs & Stratton Flyer (also called the "Red Bug") which sold at only US$125-US$150.

Eventually the company settled on manufacturing automotive components and small petrol engines. Briggs purchased an engine patent from A.O. Smith Company and began powering early washing machines and refrigerators. The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 1928.

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