About Kohler Engines


About Kohler Engines

Kohler Engines manufactures small engines for riding lawn mowers, garden tractors, walk behind lawnmowers, concrete construction equipment, outdoor power equipment, welders, pressure washers and other products.

The beginnings of Kohler engines can be traced back to 1920, when the Kohler Automatic Power and Light 1500 watt Model A generator set was introduced. Designed to serve rural markets, it delivered 110 volt DC current and was powered by a Kohler four cylinder water cooled cast iron gasoline engine. In 1939 work began on the development of liquid cooled diesel engines. A variety of models were planned - speed constant 1200 rpm engines for Kohler generators; engines would range from single cylinder 5 hp to four cylinder 20 hp. Variable speed engines up to 2400 rpms from 10 to 60 hp. High speed diesels from 5 to 20 hp for the U.S. Navy.

In 1948, Kohler increased the company's focus on manufacturing engines by opening a small engines factory and introducing the first stand alone Kohler engines for industrial applications. Three years later, Kohler's K90 cast iron single cylinder air cooled engine went into production, followed by the K160 in 1952. Throughout the 1950's, Kohler added to its K-Series engines and in 1959 introduced the first of the four interchangeable models with common mounting bolt pattern and crank height. The decade closed with the groundbreaking for a new Engine and Electric Plant building east of Pottery. The building opened for business in 1960 and would be the first of many Kohler firsts during the 1960's. In 1965, Kohler introduced Automatic Compression Release (ACR) for use on Kohler engines. This new technology allowed for more effortless recoil starts, and easier starting.

Kohler company reached yet another impressive milestone in 1966, when the one-millionth engine came off the assembly line. In 1968, two-cycle engine production for the snowmobile industry began. Just eight years later Kohler shipped its one-millionth international engine in 1976.

Kohler company made huge strides again in 1983 when the "New Shape of Kohler Power" brought newly designed products and a renewed commitment to quality within the engine division. Twin cylinder Series II models were launched featuring full pressure lubrication, steel backed sleeve bearings at both ends of the crankshaft, and a redesigned connecting rod to name a few. One year later Kohler introduced the first in a series of single cylinder and twin cylinder Magnum engines, the result of extensive engineering improvements and featuring a new, sleek restyling. These engines included electronic ignition and superior air filtration for greatly improved reliability. In 1986 the first Magnum vertical shaft twin cylinder engines were introduced. The next year, Command engines were introduced with features including OHV (overhead valve) design and hydraulic valve lifters for improved efficiency, longer life and quieter operation. In 1991, Command twin cylinder horizontal shaft engines were first introduced followed by vertical shaft twin cylinder engines for the commercial and consumer lawn and garden equipment market.

1995 marked yet another category changing innovation from Kohler when OHC (overhead cam) engines were unveiled, a first in the industry. Kohler's relentless pursuit of quality and innovation was recognized in 1998 when Kohler received a prestigious award from the National Society of Professional Engineers for the innovative OHC (overhead cam) 18hp engine. The award lauded the engine as the best new product of the thousands of new products introduced in 1998 by all major manufacturing companies. (In 1997, the same award went to Boeing Commercial Airplane Co. for its 777 jetliners.) That same year, the company began production at a new manufacturing facility in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

In 1999, the Kohler Command PRO series was launched introducing both single cylinder and twin cylinder models. These premium engines were specifically targeted to the commercial turf tractor, and consumer garden tractors. The first Kohler liquid cooled Aegis engine was also introduced in 1999. This engine series was the first to offer a 3-year warranty. The Kohler Courage engine entered the market in 2002 with new features including an inverted crankcase for leak proof operation, dual camshaft for superior cooling, a ported power intake for better power and combustion, and a cross flow cylinder head for greater air flow and cooler operation. Most recently in September of 2004 Kohler announced higher horsepower (hp) offerings, up to 31 horsepower available on its liquid cooled Aegis engines.

Kohler Engines unveiled its powerful 34-38 hp Command PRO engine line, in 2005. These high horsepower gasoline engines not only provide more power to accommodate larger and more sophisticated applications, but offer a new design that provides better serviceability and extended maintenance intervals. 2007 brought two distinct opportunities for Kohler Engines to expand its product portfolio and international presence. First, Kohler-YinXiang Ltd., a joint-venture company between Kohler Engines and YinXiang Ltd. in Chongqing, China was formed. This joint venture was created to develop, manufacture, market, sell and distribute general purpose gasoline engines. As part of this joint venture, Kohler Engines launched their first engine for the walk behind lawnmower market in October 2007, with the Kohler Courage XT-Series. This engine line would further develop, in the coming years, into engines that are used in lawn and garden, power generation generators, welding and recreation applications.

Later that same year, Kohler Co. purchased Lombardini Srl, an 85 year old engine manufacturer headquartered in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Kohler's acquisition of Lombardini allowed each brand to serve the needs of commercial and consumer end user customers globally worldwide, with both gasoline and diesel engines.

In 2008, Kohler Engines announced its product offering would expand to include gasoline and diesel engines from 4 to 65 horsepower. Kohler also announced that all of its Command PRO and Aegis twin cylinder engines would come standard with electronic fuel injection (EFI), for more fuel efficiency, faster starting and reduced emissions. Kohler company information and history courtesy of Kohler Co., www.kohlerengines.com