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OMC timeline

  1903 — Louis Johnson comes up with plan for first outboard motor1907 — Ole Evinrude patents the first outboard motor1909 — Evinrude Motor Co. formed in Milwaukee1911 — Johnson and his brothers, Harry, Julius and Clarence, develop the first single-wing airplane in Terre Haute, Ind.1913 — Evinrude Motor Co. sold1917 — Johnson Motor Wheel Co. formed in Terre Haute to build motorcycles1920 — Johnson brothers move to South Bend, Ind., build first prototype of their outboard motor1927 — Johnson Motors moves to Waukegan1929 — Evinrude, two other companies form Outboard Motors Corp., survives Great Depression1934 — Ole Evinrude dies1936 — Outboard Marine and Manufacturing Co. formed by merger of Johnson Motor Co. and Outboard Motors Corp.1942 — Company begins making motors for landing crafts used in World War II1946 — Company begins to see rapid growth following post-war recreational boom1956 — The company becomes Outboard Marine Corp., diversifies into golf carts, scooters, chain saws and garden equipment; expands on its 114-acre lakefront site1968 — Three millionth Johnson Outboard comes off Waukegan assembly line1975 — Aluminum die-casting plant completed on 10-acre lakefront site; worldwide, company has 3,600 employees1976 — Clarence Johnson, the last Johnson brother, dies1979 — Company opens manufacturing plants in Southeast1982 — Sixth millionth Johnson Outboard produced at Waukegan plant1986 — Company begins boat-buying spree, eventually buying nine companies across the U.S.1989 — OMC sells Lawn-Boy division to Toro1991 — Recession takes toll on company profits1995 — Whirlpool Corp. executive Harry Bowman takes corporate helm, succeeding James Chapman1997 — OMC acquired by group of investors led by financier George Soros1998 — Company closes Milwaukee plant, parts of Waukegan facility; sells off its portion of Volvo-OMC stern drive to Volvo2000 — Chairman David Jones leaves in August; massive layoffs announced, while plants are shut down; OMC files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

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