Carl Riotte 1874 - 1908

A Tribute to Genius

In the death of Carl Carlos Riotte, vice-president of the Standard Motor Construction Co., April 22, the motorboat industry suffered the loss of one of its most enterprising spirits, a man who accomplished works which will exist for all time. Mr. Riotte was born in Oakland, Alameda County, California, on September 15, 1874. The family removed to New York when he was six years of age. Even as a schoolboy he displayed his genius in mechanics and science. In a little shop which he fitted up as a youth and carry on his experiments, he built a small gasolene engine which was the wonder of his friends.

About 1891 Mr. Riotte began to build stationary gas engines at Mott Haven, N.Y., and two years later his brother, Eugene A. Riotte, became associated in the business. The first marine motor was built in his shop about 1893, and was called the Empire motor. Later on the firm moved to 1955 Park Avenue, and at that place the business was conducted under the style of C. C. Riotte Company. The business remained in this plant until the year 1895-6, when the two brothers withdrew from the C. C. Riotte Co., and started a business for themselves at 1945 Park Avenue, in the same building. Here was commenced the building of Standard motors, which was carried on a year or so later when the plant was moved to 129th Street and Third Avenue, where increased facilities were available. At this plant Standard engines as large as 75-hp. were built.

In 1900 the business was consolidated and organized with the present Standard Motor Construction Co. and the property which the company now occupies in Jersey City was secured.

The name of C. C. Riotte is associated with many remarkable achievements in the development of the internal combustion motor. The first reversing type engine was originated by Mr. Riotte, and to him is credited the first six-cylinder gasolene engine built in this country. This motor was designed by Mr. Riotte, and was placed in the motorboat Standard, when that splendid racer first came out in 1903-4. This engine was of 100-hp., and it has since been replaced by motors of greater power.

Mr. Riotte designed the first successful double-acting engine for marine work in June, 1905, and since then a great many of this type have been built by the company. to him is also credited the first gasolene engine of as high power as 500-hp. Three of these were built in that year, all of double-acting type. These three engines are installed in the Northland, the Arion and the Ida May. He also designed the engines which were installed in the torpedo boat Gregory and the ten other boats for the Russian navy.

The last, and one of the greatest achievements of the deceased, was the designing of gasolene engines for a new class of torpedo boats for the Austrian Government. These engines will develop 300-hp. each, and two of them will be placed in each boat to operate twin screws.

(Transcribed from MotorBoat, May 10, 1908, p. 32)

{The Gregory, owned by Lewis Nixon, president of Standard Motor Construction Co., was one of the first gasoline- powered boats to cross the Atlantic. The object of the crossing was to participate in the disastrous power boat race from Algiers to Toulon. Fortunately, Mr. Nixon did not arrive in time for the race, or he could easily have been one of the casualties of that fiasco. - GWC}

[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page. —LF]

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Leslie Field, 2001