Sandwich Manufacturing Co. History

Sandwich Early Day Gas Engine Club

Sandwich Manufacturing

The Sandwich Manufacturing Co. was started in 1856 when Augustus Adams moved from Elgin, Illinois where he had been active in the foundry business.  Adams and his 2 older sons developed their own brand of spring and cylinder corn shellers, both hand and power operated, and soon branched out into other types of farm equipment.  While not as large as many of the other equipment manufacturers, the Sandwich Line of high quality equipment was known the world over.

As the demand for engine power to run their machines developed, the company began to handle other company’s engines.  Notable was the Chanticleer engine of Jacob Haish of DeKalb, Illinois which was brought out in 1904.  Haish’s factory burned in 1912, and Sandwich contracted with Stover of Freeport, Illinois for engines while developing their own line of engines.  Several of the engineers were former Haish employees, which explains the resemblance between the two brands of engines.

With a large foundry and machine shop, Sandwich was able to market their first “Excess Power” engines in 1913.  These were a well-designed, high quality engine rated well below their actual horsepower output.  Available were 1 1/2, 2 1/2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 hp engines.  If sold by another company, the 1 1/2 hp engine would have been rated at least a 2 hp or maybe a 2 1/2 hp and in some cases as high as a 3hp engine.  In the middle 1920’s, the smaller engines were re-rated from 1 1/2 hp to 2 hp, 2 1/2 hp to a 3 hp, 4 hp to 4 1/2hp, and the Light 6 was introduced.  This was basically a 4 hp engine with some minor modifications.  Also introduced were the 1 1/4 hp Cub and the 1 1/2 hp Junior.  On these, the base and cylinder were one piece rather than the 2-piece common to the rest of the line.

Sandwich Manufacturing Co. was sold to New Idea Spreader Co. of Coldwater, Ohio in 1930, and the manufacture of Sandwich Engines were stopped.  New Idea soon developed their own Vari-Speed 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hp throttle-governed engine with a closed crankcase.  These were built in Sandwich, Illinois from 1930 to about 1935.  With demand for small engines of this type falling off, New Idea dropped them from the catalog, but still sold parts for Sandwich & New Idea engines into the 1940’s.

As New Idea began to consolidate their product line, the plant at Sandwich was converted to a warehouse and Dealers Training Center.  As part of the changeover, all of the old Sandwich and later New Idea records were destroyed along with over 100 tons of parts for everything from hand shellers to engines.  All Engine records were burned during the clean-up.

History from Ray Forrer