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Manufacturers Index - Howell Electric Motors Co.
Last Modified: Jul 21 2016 8:23AM by Jeff_Joslin
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Howell Electric Motors Co. was established in 1915 to manufacture 3-phase induction motors. The company was successful in this market with their simple motor designs with generously sized bearings. Eventually they added single-phase induction motors to their lineup.

In 1966 the company name was changed to Howell International, Inc. In 2007 the company was acquired by Imperial Electric Co.

Information Sources

  • 1918-07-27 Michigan Manufacturer and Financial Record has a lengthy article on this company. It says the company was established three years earlier to manufacture polyphase induction motors, which remained its specialty. Impetus for establishing the company came from electrical engineer Charles F. Norton, who approached Henry Spencer (whose company, Spencer-Smith Machine Co., made automobile engine components) and W. M. Spencer, a local capitalist. They hired Professor B. F. Bailey, of the University of Michigan, to design the motors. The article also notes the major selling features of Howell motors: simple robust designs with unusually large bearings, plus dust proofing and re-centering features. Henry Spencer, president; Charles F. Norton, vice-president and general manager; W. M. Spencer, secretary and treasurers. The board of directors included those men plus C. L. Daun, Prof. B. F. Bailey, R. B. McPherson, Dr. J. E. Brown, and S. B. Rubert. The factory manager was J. M. Barr.
  • 1918-12-14 Michigan Manufacturer and Financial Record has a list of corporate registrations, including Howell Electric Motors Company, Howell, who increased their capitalization from $150,000 to $200,000.
  • 1959-02-19 Cincinnati Enquirer: "Directors of Ohio Electric Mfg. Co., Cleveland, and Howell Electric Motors, Howell, Mich., have approved a plan to merge. Howell acquires the business and assets of Ohio Electric and its wholly owned subsidiary, Kingston-Conley, Inc., Plainfield, N. J."
  • 1959-03-26 Detroit Free Press: "HOWELL ELECTRIC MOTORS COMPANY has acquired THE OHIO ELECTRIC MFG Co and its subsidiary KINGSTON CONLEY INC".
  • According to their website, the Imperial Electric Co. acquired Howell Electric Motors in 2007.
  • According to a document related to payment for government contracts, "On November 1, 1966, Howell Electric Motors filed with the Treasurer of the State of Michigan a certificate of amendment to its articles of incorporation stating that pursuant to a majority vote of its shareholders at a meeting held on August 25, 1966, the corporate name had been changed to Howell International, Inc. ..."
  • Seen in an owwm.org forum discussion: a ½ HP induction motor labeled, "Howell Electric Motors Co. / Kingston-Conley Div. / Plainfield, New Jersey".
  • From correspondent Gilbert Morris:
    I was hired by Richard Ballou, Chief Engineer, in 1953... About 1955 I was assigned the task of developing a standard line of rerated motors, frame sizes 180 through 320. Bob Kaplan, who was Asst Chief Engineer, left the company about 1958 for Louis Allis Co. I was promoted into his position and later into Chief Engineer when Ballou was ousted as negotiations with Ohio Electric tightened. Soon after I was made VP of Engineering but left for Louis Allis in 1963 [where I was mostly busy with a "sonar" project with the gov't while at Louis Allis so I don't have knowledge of where commercial products went]. About that same time Howell lost its most valued account, Ford Motor. Ford's specs required that all enclosed motors have cartridge housings for the ball bearings [made so that the entire rotor along with shaft and bearings could be removed from the stator housing along with end plates without exposing the open bearings—enclosed in a cast housing all their own]. Their requirement carried over into the standard line and Ohio Electric accused us of making Mack Trucks because of the overkill of our designs and cost thereof but it was because of Ford. We met with, I think, Peerless Electric to possibly buy their pancake motor design but we decided not to. About 1960 I developed an encapsulated open motor line, 1-250 hp. Aubry Flood, a former banker, was president.