2017 marks the 75th anniversary of HOTSTART Inc. What began as a startup company that developed an engine heater to help school buses start on cold winter mornings has grown into an international provider of diesel engine pre-heaters with offices in Tokyo, Japan; Siegburg, Germany; Houston; and Spokane, Washington, USA.
Established in 1942 as Kimberlin Manufacturing, the company was originally owned and managed by Wayne Kimberlin, who bought the original patent for coolant heating from GE and started making engine heaters to improve cold weather starts for diesel engines. A few years later, Kimberlin partnered with Stanley Power, a print shop owner, who served as the company’s salesperson and quickly grew the business.
“Kimberlin Manufacturing was making a product called the ‘Kim Hotstart’,” said Terry Judge, Chief Executive Officer of HOTSTART. “The Kim Hotstart was a pre-heater for warming motors while they idle. The heater became a by-pass to the regular water circulation system of the engine. By controlled percolator-flow action, it drew cold water into the head of the Kim Hotstart and forced warm water into the back of the motor block.”
Compared to today’s standards, the original heater was bulky and boxy but it worked, receiving high accolades from engine manufacturers like Cummins and International. In 1944, Power purchased the business from Kimberlin and changed the name to Kim Hotstart Manufacturing Company.