Company History


Established in Spokane, Washington in 1942 as Kimberlin Manufacturing, the company was originally owned and managed by Wayne Kimberlin, a former school bus driver who developed a unique electric engine heater for school buses. Kimberlin 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) and the two continued to manufacture the Kim Hotstart for heavy diesel and gas equipment. In 1944, Power purchased the business and changed the name to Kim Hotstart Manufacturing Company.

Kim Hotstart's original manufacturing facility was located at 159 S. McClellan in downtown Spokane. The building still exists and was recently converted into a multi-tenant office building. The company maintained manufacturing operatons from the warehouse until Power moved the business to a location just two miles to the north in 1945.

The first heater manufactured for sale by Stanley Power was actually called “Kim Hotstart”. One of the earliest product sheets described the heater as follows: "The KIM HOTSTART is a pre-heater for warming motors while they are idle. The heater becomes a by-pass to the regular water circulation system of the engine. By controlled percolator-flow action, it draws cold water into the head of the KIM HOTSTART and forces warm water into the back of the motor block. This heater in no way interferes with the regular circulation of coolant fluids. It has the approval of engine manufacturers."

Compared to today’s standards, the heater was boxy, bulky and awkward looking but it received great praise from engine manufacturers like Cummins and International. The square box with two hoses coming out at each end would be the prototype for engine heating success.

In 1978 the company moved to its present location at 5723 E. Alki in Spokane. The 142,000-square-foot manufacturing facility includes a research and development lab and a state-of-the-art cold room. Four separate testing bays in the R&D lab allow HOTSTART's production team to perform pre- and post-production testing on locomotive heating systems. The cold room facility features two rooms which can achieve temperatures to -40°F (-40°C). The cold rooms can accommodate very large engines and allow HOTSTART's research and development team to simulate extreme temperatures to test heater performance and functionality.

To better serve our customers outside of the United States, HOTSTART opened a sales office in Siegburg, Germany in 2010. Additionally, the company established a sales office in Houston, Texas to serve the Oil & Gas industry. In late 2011, the HOTSTART Asia Pacific (HAP) office was opened in Tokyo, Japan. HOTSTART continues to be a privately held company owned by the descendants of Stanley Power.

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Celebrating 75 years

Evolution of the HOTSTART Brand

It’s interesting that a company can be founded on simply providing the benefits of keeping engines warm. It’s even more interesting that over 75 years later, that same company has grown to serve customer’s engine heating needs in thousands of installations all over the world. That’s HOTSTART.

Just as actions speak louder than words, a corporate brand is all that is known, thought, felt or perceived about an organization. It often begins with the name and extends into many materials - printed and online. It is our collective responsibility to build lasting value by delighting our customers. We need to do our work so that we communicate all of the aspects of the HOTSTART brand, from our brandmark and logotype, to our advertising and website, and in every meeting we have with a client or prospective client.

As HOTSTART has evolved into the leading global supplier of engine heating products, so has our logo.

Kim-Hotstart-logo-original.jpg 1944: Stanley Power and his partner Wayne Kimberlin, a former school bus driver, developed a unique electric engine heater for school buses. Originally established as Kimberlin Manufacturing, Power changed the company name to Kim Hotstart after purchasing the business from Kimberlin.
Kim-Hotstart-Logo-legacy.jpg 1992: Kim Hotstart celebrates its 50th anniversary and updates the logo which places more emphasis on "Hotstart". As engine heaters became more commonly referred to as "Hotstarts" within the industry, the new logo more accurately reflected the company's specialty in engine heating design and manufacturing.
Hotstart-Logo-legacy.jpg 2009: The company releases a new logo and officially changes its name to HOTSTART, Inc. The "Kim" was dropped from the logo and company name to strengthen the HOTSTART brand in the global marketplace. HOTSTART continues to be a privately held company owned by the descendants of Stanley Power.