at the museum

The Preston Electric Motor Heater


(Excepts from Richard L. Bagley, his grandson)

With the recent cold spell we have had, Thor had the perfect solution for starting your car.

Otto Thorsnes had one of the earliest automobile repair businesses in the Midwest. He had the ability to manufacture parts for automobiles as there were no parts stores like we have today. He produced bearings, rods, piston rings and wrist pins.

He invented an engine block heater which would be fitted into the top radiator hose, and, when plugged into a 12-V electrical outlet, it would heat the engine enough to start it on cold mornings.

Several hundred were manufactured and sold, but, unfortunately, he did not patent his device. A salesman from Chicago saw it, and, subsequently, a company from Chicago patented it which kept him from selling his own invention.

The Preston Electric Motor Heater information on the box read: This heater means quick starting, no crankcase dilation, no battery drain, no wear and tear on cylinder walls and pistons, heating your motor in 30 to 45 minutes adding thousands of miles to your engine. Priced at $10.00.

This model was donated by Greta Kopperud and given to the museum by Jeremy and Cristy and Jeffrey and Heidi Woodcock.


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