In 1913, Cummins Machine Work was formed in Indiana, the founder of the company is Clessie Lyle Cummins, who worked as a bank driver with the financial support of banker and politician William Glanton Irwin, and on February 3, 1919 Cummins Engine Company was founded.
These two completely different people met for the first time in 1908, when Irwin needed an experienced auto mechanic to service and repair his own car. Irwin later supported the talented self-taught mechanic when he decided to open his own business. During the First World Car Repair Company, Clessy Cummins managed to receive several extremely profitable government orders. By that time, Klessey was absolutely convinced that the new technology proposed by Rudolph Diesel in the 90s of the nineteenth century would revolutionize the design of internal combustion engines, providing fuel and resource indicators unattainable for gasoline engines. To begin work on a new type of engine, Cummins acquires a patent.
It is known that the first diesel engine was invented in 1890 in Europe by engineer Rudolf Diesel. However, the engine was not widely used due to imperfect design, difficulty in assembly and unprofitability in operation. Klessi Cummins was absolutely sure that engines working on the principle of compression and ignition of the air mixture have a great future and, with minor modifications, the engine can be extremely economical and reliable. To start diesel engine production, Cummins bought a license from Dutch patent holder Hvid.In 1919, the first American 4-stroke engine using Hvid technology was assembled at the Cummins factory. The engine had a power of only 6 horsepower, but that was enough to use it as a generator to generate electricity.
Cummins is well aware that the engine is still very far from perfect, uneconomical and capricious. Buyers do not trust the European novelty, there are few orders for the company, and profit from sales does not cover even part of the production costs. Then Cummins lures to his side the leading Dutch engineer Knudsen from Hvid and begins work on creating a new engine. Soon, an experimental model of a diesel engine with a wheel-shaped distribution clutch is being presented.
Thanks to bold, innovative solutions and continuous modernization, diesel engines are gaining recognition in the United States. Initially, Cummins got the idea of distributing engines through the Thermoil magazine catalog. The most active buyers are farmers. After the season ended, they returned engines to dealers at 50% of their residual value. Not only was the engine reliable and economical, it could be used without major repairs for several years. By 1929, when the first signs of an economic crisis appeared with the United States, Cummins was producing marine engines and diesel generators.
During the time of the Great Depression, thanks to his creativity and ingenuity, Cummins managed to avoid the fate of many of his competitors, bankruptcy. He was the first to propose installing a diesel engine on a Packard car, and on the eve of Christmas in 1929, as if by accident, he invited his former investor, Irwin, to ride the first American limousine with a diesel engine. They say that it was just a good marketing gimmick. But, nevertheless, this saved the company from ruin and Cummins, thanks to the Irvine family, once again managed to get money for the project.
Cummins is developing an advertising campaign and is actively promoting the installation of diesel engines on cars. Cummins personally set several records for speed and efficiency among cars with a diesel engine during car races. In 1931, on a racetrack in Indianapolis, in the race for "survival", the Cummins team set another record for the structural strength and reliability of engines. The results of the races were daily covered by the press. Encouraged by the emerging economic prospects, the owners of small transport companies decide to place orders for the installation of Cummins engines on their trucks.
You won’t get far from fame alone: Cummins needed a “shock mark” for the engine, which would serve as a starting point for mass production and a strong organizational structure. Soon, such an engine was designed and assembled. In 1933, Cummins launches Model H, a powerful truck engine. Irwin Miller, great-grandson of banker Irwin, became CEO in 1934 and has been managing the Cummins Corporation for several decades. Thanks to its superior products and an extensive network of service centers, the company has been making decent profits since 1937. Three years later, Cummins announced a 100,000 mile warranty on its engines.
During World War II, a significant portion of Cummins products was manufactured for the US Army and Navy. Cummins engines worked in any climate, from the tropics to the Arctic. With the opening of the second front, engines were delivered to Europe and Russia.
In the 50s in America there was a massive construction of highways with high-quality coating. Cummins engines were installed on bulldozers, excavators and graders and tractors that delivered construction equipment to the sites. Drivers and owners needed an economical, powerful, sturdy engine, and the Cummins were just what they needed. After conducting a series of laboratory research and testing in 1954, the company announced a technological breakthrough: a serial engine with a fuel and time metering system was introduced. A few years later, Summins annually supplied products worth more than $ 100 million and became a leader among manufacturers of industrial engines.
Widely recognized in their country, Cummins seeks to expand its presence outside the United States. An attempt is being made to build new industries. In 1956, in Scotland, the first plant was built in the city of Scotts. In the early 60s, Cummins built several plants in Europe, Australia, Brazil, India, Mexico and Japan. After 10 years, there were 2,500 Cummins dealerships and service centers in 98 countries worldwide. Thanks to the hard work, the company managed to conquer markets on all continents.Meanwhile, at home, in the USA, urgent tasks appeared. There was a tendency to unite manufacturers of trucks and engines to unite in holdings. For example, Detroit Diesel is part of the Freightliner. In 1963, Cummins also tried to merge with White Motors, but in the end, nothing came of it. Cummins remains the only independent engine manufacturer to this day. The company's marketing services have estimated that the day is not far off when demand for super-powerful engines will gradually decline. Cummins is taking steps to monopolize the potential market in the small engine segment.