National Inventor’s Day: Celebrating Our Founders Stephen Briggs & Harold Stratton

National Inventor’s Day celebrates the achievements of renowned American inventors. As a world leader in small engines, Briggs & Stratton was founded by some of America’s greatest inventors and entrepreneurs.

Stephen Foster Briggs was born December 4, 1885 in Watertown, South Dakota. After years of tinkering and experimenting with mechanics, Briggs became the town’s electrician, responsible for wiring the town and repairing automobiles.

Harold Mead Stratton was born November 12, 1879 in Troy Center, Wisconsin. Stratton learned about the grain industry through his uncle’s company, and later cofounded his own, the Donahue-Stratton Grain Company.

Stephen and Harold were introduced by South Dakota State College basketball coach, Bill Juneau. Bill was Stephen’s coach and at one time a neighbor to Harold. He understood the entrepreneurial motivation behind each man and thought the two would hit it off.

And so they did. In 1908 an informal partnership began between Stephen and Harold. After initial setbacks due to the expensive nature of mass-production, the innovators put their minds and dollars together to build an automobile manufacturing business centered around locks, switches and igniters.

After acquiring A.O. Smith Motor Wheel in 1919, Briggs & Stratton began producing their first power source for bicycles and the Briggs & Stratton Flyer. The Flyer was a small two-seat American automobile that resembles the go-karts of today. This translated to the creation of the stationary Type “P” engine, which enabled consumers to purchase portable, reliable and convenient power. Over the years Briggs & Stratton continued to make engine improvements to accommodate power needs everywhere.

The origins and values of Briggs & Stratton are evident in the company 100+ years later. The can-do spirit of the founders promotes the tireless efforts to evolve and innovate within the marketplace, and Briggs & Stratton’s commitment to being a provider of power only continues to grow.

For more information about the history of Briggs & Stratton, please visit https://www.basco.com/company-profile/our-history.html.

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