Founded in Wausau, Wisconsin, where it still operates today, Marathon was originally a timber and forestry business. However, it soon moved to electric motor manufacturing when an engineer left Westinghouse Electric and convinced the Wausau group that the small washing machine motor they had designed could be profitable. Establishing quality-driven manufacturing processes, Marathon quickly became the motor supplier of choice for manufacturers of durable industrial and consumer products. Consistent growth meant that by the late 1940s, Marathon was producing over 300,000 electric motors a year.
Diversification followed with Marathon purchasing generator manufacturer Burke Electric of Erie, Pennsylvania. At the same time Burke’s fuse and terminal block division in Bowling Green, Ohio, became Marathon Special Products. In 1986, Marathon became the world’s largest independent producer of electrical generators when it purchased Lima Electric in Ohio.
Of course, Marathon always maintained its motor activity, steadily expanding into larger motors and new technologies, often innovating entirely new product categories, developing specialist motors and constantly reviewing materials and manufacturing techniques.
Marathon joined the Regal Beloit portfolio of brands in 1997, where it has since been joined by several other leading players in motor and related technologies. Today, its motor range embraces AC and DC motors from fractional to integral horsepower-sized, imperial and metric designs, NEMA, ISA and other standards, permanent magnet motors, specialist motors, etc.
As Marathon goes into its 101st year, research and development is at the heart of its operations. It is particularly focused on increasing the efficiency and reliability of motors and generators, and rising to the changing needs of motor users throughout the world. Customer service and global reach are also identified as key components for continuing success.