Discovery and refurbishment of a 1930 Kohler generator set.


A 1930’s vintage Kohler generator was discovered in New Zealand by the manufacturer in 2016, when they received an email request for a service manual for the set.

The generator was originally owned by Whakatane Borough council and had since been donated to Whakatane’s amateur radio club back in 1974.

Members of the club built a housing for it and the generator was maintained by Civil Defence for many years, serving the community well during the 1987 earthquake.

In more recent years it had sat unused in a shed, until 2016 when one of the club members “who was old enough to know about these things” – decided to try and get the vintage generator going again. He took it to his house, where he repaired various bits and pieces and got it up and running again. Whilst completing the repair he was trying to find a service manual for it, so he e-mailed Kohler in the US and they became very interested in the fact that it was still running and in really good condition.

Kohler subsequently contacted TDX, their dealer in NZ to come up with a swap proposal, so they agreed with the owners to swap the vintage set for a brand new model.

TDX then returned the set to Kohler in Singapore and through a collaborative effort of associates from different departments, they finally completed the unit refurbishment to a showroom condition for display.

 The generator is now taking its pride of place in Kohler Singapore’s showroom, where it has gained a huge amount of attention from staff, visitors and customers.

Mr David Kohler (Company CEO) had his photo taken with it during a recent visit to Kohler Singapore. The set was also displayed in Data Centre World in Singapore last year.