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KOHLER – In September of 2018, Kohler Co. announced that its Wisconsin-based small engines division would move to Mississippi by the end of 2019. In light of this end to an era, we wanted to take a look back at some interesting points in the division's history. 

1948: Kohler begins producing and marketing small engines. 

1978: Al Wilson, an account executive with the Kohler engines division, appears on "Country Day", a syndicated television program aimed at farm and rural viewers in the upper Midwest. On the program, Wilson gave viewers tips and tricks to maintaining their small engines and helpful safety tips. 

1987: A new class of engines is unveiled at the International Lawn, Garden and Power Equipment Exposition.

"I told our people we wanted engines that I couldn't hear," said George Tiedens, former Kohler vice president, in a Press article. "The noise and vibration of these new engines is so low that I believe we've got it."

1997: Ryan Tripp of Beaver, Utah, rides a lawn mover from Salt Lake City to Washington, D.C. The engine was powered by a Kohler Command 25-hp engine. When Tripp arrived, he even mowed a portion of the lawn at the U.S. Capitol Building. 

Tripp made the trip to raise money for a baby he knew who needed a liver transplant and to set the Guinness World Record for the longest lawn mower ride. 

1998: Kohler's OHC 18 engine is named “Best New Product” in the large company category by the National Society of Professional Engineers. For perspective, the winner in 1997 was the Boeing 777 airplane.

2007: Modified debris sweepers, powered with Kohler engines, help save lives in Iraq. The machines, mounted on the front of military trucks, blew away roadside debris to expose bombs planted by insurgents. 

2010: Actor Lucas Van Engen drives a lawn mower, powered by a Kohler engine, from California to New York. In September 2010, he visited Kohler and met some of the folks that helped to produce the type of engines that powered his 99-day journey. 

2012: Kohler Engines launches a DIY Poster Experience. The online campaign allowed participants to create a unique online poster with customized phrases and designs. People could then share the posters on Facebook or other social media platforms. The campaign was used to educate users about Kohler's closed-loop EFI (electronic fuel injection) engine which launched around that time. 

2018: Kohler announces that its Sheboygan County small engines plant will relocate to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to streamline operations.

More: As some Kohler workers prepare to shift roles, the company affirms its local commitment

This information is courtesy of the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center in Sheboygan Falls. 

What are your most prominent memories of the Kohler engines division? Let us know! Email reporter Marina Affo at maffo@gannett.com. 

Our subscribers make this coverage possible. Click to see The Sheboygan Press's special offers at sheboyganpress.com/subscribe and download our app on the App Store or Google Play.

 

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