1919 ad 8
1931 15

The Atlas Gas Engine Company primarily made gasoline engines for boats and was in business from 1903 to 1951. In 1916, they merged with the Imperial Gas Engine Company to form the Atlas Imperial Engine Company which focused on diesel engines. 1,3 The Atlas Gas Engine Co. name still appeared after the merger. 8

The company was started in San Francisco in 1903 by John W. Lorimer and Axel Warenskjold; like many other companies, they moved to Oakland after the 1906 Earthquake. 2,9 In 1907, they were employing 98 men, working on a huge dredger. 5

At the end of 1911 they began expanding to a location at the foot of 19th and 20th Avenue. 4 They worked on a number of craft along with Cryer & Sons Boatyard including the 52' towboat M. Matsumoto6,7 The president in 1911 was Axel Warenskjold, and L.A. Moberry the manager. 4

Considered one of the most serviceable diesel engines ever built, many of the engines which were built in the 1920s were still in operation in 30 years later, and a few are still serviceable today (2020). Atlas Imperial was acquired by National Supply Company in 1950 and the Oakland factory was closed soon thereafter, but Atlas Diesels were manufactured up to 1957 at which point the National Supply Company sold their diesel engine division to White Motor Company and was renamed as White Diesel Engine Division. 11,12,13,14 When the factory closed, the adjacent California Foundries company, which was a major supplier to Atlas, ran into financial difficulties and soon closed their factory. 14

1915 Cheney Photo Advertising 161931 3 1911 Sanborn excerpt1950 Sanborn excerpt

From Pacific Motor Boat, Volume 13: 10

Links and References

  1. Classic Currents Northern California Fleet of the Classic Yacht Association newsletter, Spring 2018

  2. Atlas Gas Engine Company Builds in East Oakland Oakland Tribune July 7, 1906

  3. Diesel Type Factory Here Is Kept Busy Oakland Tribune April 13, 1931

  4. Gas Engine Works Leases Land and Begins Erection of New Plant Oakland Tribune November 5, 1911

  5. Monster Dredger Oakland Tribune September 7, 1907

  6. Launch Towboat Oakland Tribune September 18, 1912

  7. Matsu Test Success Oakland Tribune November 10, 1912

  8. ad Oakland Tribune October 7, 1919

  9. John Lorimer Funeral Set Oakland Tribune October 28, 1947

  10. Pacific Motor Boat - Volume 13

  11. Guide to the Atlas Imperial Diesel Engine Company Records Smithsonian Institute

  12. Atlas Diesel Calls Stockholder Meeting Oakland Tribune August 16, 1950

  13. Atlas Name Continued San Pedro News-Pilot September 12, 1950

  14. 1954 Port of Oakland minutes (see page 33 of the PDF)
  15. ohrphoto.oakindustries.020 Oakland History Center, Oakland Public Library
  16. ohrphoto.oakindustries.025 Oakland History Center, Oakland Public Library