Lycoming traces its beginning to a mid-nineteenth century sewing machine manufacturer. In 1907 that company was sold and restructured as the Lycoming Foundry and Machine Company, which produced automobile engines, and later was a subsidiary of the Auburn Auto Company. Although its early aircraft engines were radials, Lycoming entered the light-aircraft engine field early in 1938 with the introduction of the air-cooled, four-cylinder, horizontally opposed O-145 engine.
Along with Continental and Franklin, Lycoming was a basic provider of engines for the ubiquitous bright yellow Piper Cub, which sold for less than $2,000 and was synonymous with small general aviation aircraft for many years.
Appearing in 1939, the O-145-B2 provided the highest power of Lycoming's three engine models. It powered such aircraft as the Piper J3L-65, Taylorcraft BL-12-65, and Mooney M-18 Mite.