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The firm of Hooven, Owens, Rentschler, and Company manufactured steam and diesel engines in Hamilton, Ohio. Because the firm was frequently known by its initials, H.O.R., the Hooven is sometimes incorrectly rendered as Hoover, and the Owens may be mistaken for Owen.



The firm was the successor to the firm of Owens, Ebert & Dyer (founded in 1845 by Job E. Owens) which went into receivership in 1876.[1]

In 1882, George A. Rentschler, J. C. Hooven, Henry C. Sohn, George H. Helvey, and James E. Campbell merged the firm with the iron works of Sohn and Rentschler,[1][2] and adopted the name Hooven, Owens, Rentschler Co.

In 1883 the firm began the manufacture of Corliss steam engines,[3] producing a total of 700 such engines by 1901.[1]

20th century, first part[edit]

By World War I, the Hooven-Owens-Rentschler Company operated the largest exclusive Corliss Engine plant in the country, employing nearly 800 men.[4]

Niles Tool Works, Hamilton, Ohio, 1896[5]

In 1928 the company merged with the Niles Tool Works to form the General Machinery Corporation. However, it continued to make diesel engines under the H.O.R. brand, and supplied many of the powerplants for United States submarines and liberty ships during World War II. General Machinery Corporation ranked 91st among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts.[6]

In the 1930s H.O.R. developed a double-acting two-stroke diesel engine, initially based on the German cruiser Leipzig's MAN engines but with eight cylinders instead of seven, expanded to nine cylinders in the final submarine version.[7] The double-acting design produced more power from a physically smaller engine than conventional designs. However, H.O.R.'s double-acting engines, particularly those of USS Pompano,[8] gained notoriety for their unreliability in the submarine force, where they were nicknamed "whores."[9] During World War II, all submarine H.O.R. engines were replaced by early 1943, usually with General Motors Cleveland Division engines or Fairbanks-Morse Model 38 engines.

20th century, second part[edit]

In 1947, General Machinery Corporation merged with Lima Locomotive Works to form Lima-Hamilton Corporation, which, in turn, merged in 1950 with Baldwin Locomotive Works to form the Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation. BLH, Hamilton Div., moved to the Eddystone Pa. plant of BLH in 1959. BLH went out of business around 1966.

An HOR combination steam engine is preserved in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. It is one of 12 units (this one was built and installed in 1916) that were made for Mr. Ford for his Highland Park assembly plant where he produced the Model T from 1908 until its production demise in 1927. This engine was removed from the Highland Park facility and placed in storage after the Ford Motor Company took up permanent residence at the giant River Rouge facilities to produce the Model A. Mr. Ford donated the steam engine to his Edison Institute as the cornerstone display in 1929. The Edison Institute later was renamed the Henry Ford Museum and is known today as "The Henry Ford".[10][11]


  1. ^ a b c http://lanepl.org/blount/jbplaces/documents/0CFFE130E015779950E1131522F088FD380549A2.html
  2. ^ A History and Biographical Cyclopaedia of Butler County, Ohio
  3. ^ http://www.ausbcomp.com/~bbott/wortman/WinfieldLeadersBlissFamily.htm
  4. ^ http://www.lanepl.org/Blount/JBCOLS/documents/5BA09BEC358EF4804D0228789CC9E20621419497.html
  5. ^ Arnold, Horace L. "Modern Machine-Shop Economics. Part II" in Engineering Magazine 11. 1896
  6. ^ Peck, Merton J. & Scherer, Frederic M. The Weapons Acquisition Process: An Economic Analysis (1962) Harvard Business School p.619
  7. ^ Friedman, Norman (1995). U.S. Submarines Through 1945: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute. pp. 263, 360–361. ISBN 1-55750-263-3. 
  8. ^ Alden, John D., Commander (USN Ret) (1979). The Fleet Submarine in the U.S. Navy: A Design and Construction History. London: Arms and Armour Press. pp. 48,50,62–63,210. ISBN 0-85368-203-8. 
  9. ^ Ron Martini (2001). Hot Straight and Normal. Submariner's Dictionary. p. 115. 
  10. ^ Wright, John (1989). A Pictorial Souvenir. Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village. 
  11. ^ Collier, Peter; Horowitz, David (1987). The Fords: An American Epic. Encounter Books. ISBN 1-893554-32-5.