Tuesday, January 9, 2018

1917 - "A Worryless Rowboat Motor", the Koban

This little article is a puff piece for the Koban rowboat motor published in the May 1917 issue of Outing Magazine. 
I have added a few other ads from Outing that year. 
Click on the image to view it larger, or without the navigation column's info plopped on top.

A Worryless Rowboat Motor 

WHEN the "horseless carriage" first burst upon an astonished and altogether incredulous world only one thing was asked of the new marvel and that was that it arrive eventually at its destination. Continuous and dependable progress, speed, comfort, convenience and freedom from engine troubles were things too remote to be thought of and the success of your trip, however short, depended upon two things— your arrival at your journey's end and your arrival there in one undamaged piece.

Much the same conditions prevailed when the outboard motor made its appearance.  Those hardy individuals who actually abandoned oar and paddle for the new device, did so with misgivings, and in most instances their fears were quite justified.  Balky motors that jarred the very soul out of your body when, by chance, they did operate made rowboat motoring a sport more novel than enjoyable.


As in the case of the automobile, however, Yankee ingenuity piled improvement upon improvement and refinement upon refinement until today the outboard motor is thoroughly dependable and a source of pleasure and profit to many thousands.

The Koban motor is an unusually good example of the successful climax of such development. Few motors that I have seen combine so many advantageous features with saving simplicity of design. The engine has two cylinders placed opposite one another with the crank case between them so that the explosion of one is balanced by the explosion in the other which results in reducing vibration to a negligible quantity, a condition that does away with the disagreeable shaking of the boat so common in rowboat motors.



Leakage and misalignment of the cylinders are impossible since crank case and cylinders are cast in one piece and the water jackets are also a part of this casting.

The gasoline tank is of pressed steel and is placed back of the fly wheel so that the whole motor except for the clamps that hold it in position hang outboard and do not project over the stern seat and the comfort derived from this feature is increased by the position of the tiller which is far to one side, enabling the operator to steer with his back to the engine.

The carbureter is as nearly fool-damage, and waterproof as such a device can be made.

The Koban is made in three designs, magneto and battery for use over the stern and a special inboard model especially suitable for canoes where the weight of the motor and operator at the stern is apt to lift the bow out of water. All three types are the same motor adapted for their various uses. In the first named the magneto is built into the fly wheel and is protected absolutely from water, and in all of them the reverse is controlled without stopping the engine by merely pressing a button.

The motor will develop a full three-horse power and is capable of driving a heavy boat 8 to 10 miles and a canoe as high as 12 miles an hour. It can be throttled down to a quarter of that speed.

As will be seen from the illustration the propellor is protected from contact with submerged obstructions by the rudder and both of these parts are so shaped as to minimize the weed nuisance.

A special tilting device makes it possible to raise the propeller well above the keel line when backing or to avoid snags without unshipping the motor.

In the matter of fuel economy the Koban has a good record. The tank has a capacity of 1 1/8 gallons which is sufficient to drive the boat from 28 to 30 miles pretty consistently. In many instances larger mileages have been obtained.

The motor weighs 67 pounds and is priced from $75.00 to $112.50 according to the model.

Limited space prevents a more detailed summary of the many commendable and ingenious features of the Koban, but from the brief outline given it is apparent that it is worthy of the most serious consideration of Outing's readers. It has our enthusiastic endorsement.