ALAMO MANUFACTURING CO.
The Alamo Manufacturing Co. of Hillsdale, Michigan made excellent gas and gasoline engines and enjoyed some years of leadership in its field, but like their namesake, the historic San Antonio mission-fortress, it was overcome by greater forces. The original Alamo felt to Mexican military might. The Alamo engine plant was victim of competition from the electric motor and rural electrification. The high quality of their products deserved a better fate.
The Alamo Manufacturing Company was organized in 1901, with capital of $25,000 but according to an Alamo Catalog, they had placed their first engine on the market in 1900. The original factory was located on Welch Street with 35 to 50 employees. Existing records do not show the original developers of the Alamo Engine.
In 1902 , land was purchased at East South Street, and St. Joseph Street, on the east side of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern railway, and a modern plant built. The main building was 50 X 450 feet, with extra buildings for testing, painting and storage. A large modern foundry produced heavy castings. Power to run all machines was furnished by Alamo engines. From limited local trade the Alamo Manufacturing Co. widened out to include all of the United States, Canada and Mexico and later added foreign trade. The officers in 1905, were president, Charles Wade; vice president, Dr. W.H. Sawyer; secretary-general manager, E.A. Dibble; treasurer, Wm. Prideaux; superintendent, M.F. Loomis.
The reputation of the Alamo engine grew. An excerpt from a magazine ad states that: "The Alamo Gas Engine" has been sold in every part of the United States and in many foreign lands. It is carrying the name of Hillsdale around the world. Its success is based upon a strict adherence to Quality---every engine has to be right in every respect before it leaves the factory". The engines ranged from 1 horse-power to 120 horse-power. In a world-wide field of 1500 manufacturers of gas and gasoline engines, it was said of the Alamo that "wherever they are used or well-known, the products of this company have an unexcelled reputation and easily hold their elevated place in the commercial world".
By 1915, the capital had been increased to $350,000. and about 300 men were employed. Annual sales reached over $500,000. A growing foreign trade was interrupted by World War I, and hoped-for war material contracts were not obtained. A new addition into the plant in 1917, nearly doubled the production capacity. The post-war development of cheap electric power from motors spelled the doom of the gas and gasoline engine. The company tried other products including the Dorward Pump, but could not survive the post-war depression. Finally, the Alamo Engine Co. who had been in bussiness from incorporation date 1903, was dissolved under court dissolution order dated August 18, 1932.
Subsequent to this event, the Alamo plant was occupied in succession by General Machine, Tool & Die (which later became Tecumseh Products); Hillsdale Steel Products, a division of Spicer Corp. and at present is owned by Essex Wire Corp.