Associated HP Pony

Montgomery Ward catalog

Photo #2: 1927 Montgomery Ward catalog illustration.

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461 Algonquin Place, Webster Groves, Missouri 63119

In the late 1920's the Associated Manufacturers Co. of Waterloo, Iowa introduced a small 34 horsepower air cooled 2-stroke engine. It was called the Pony.

Company records apparently do not exist to indicate how many of the engines were built, or during which years. I have seen serial numbers in the 20,000's but don't know if this series was numbered separately. There has also been a lack of knowledge as to what the engines were used for.

In November 1988, the Reflector used some pictures of a Pony that I had bought. Response to my questions was so great that I feel obligated to share the information with other GEM readers.

Uses: The engine seems to have been designed to compete with the Maytags. In fact it even looks like a Maytag 92 with a big low-tension magneto on it (Photo #1).

The 1927 Montgomery Ward catalog offered a fancy Wardway 'Gyrator' washing machine powered by the Pony for $127.50. Photo #2 shows the machine with the Pony clearly visible. The engine is described as being strong and dependable with a sure-fire magneto. An identical electric powered machine, on the next page, sold for $45.50 less.

Photos #2 and #3 show the gas powered machine and a picture of the electric unit.

As an interesting sidelight, in the ad the engine is said to have Hyatt roller bearings. In fact, it just has the usual 2-stroke type surfaces with no bearings at all. With the oil in the crankcases these engines don't need fancy bearings.

In addition to the catalog, an owners manual exists for the Montgomery Ward washing machine. It carries no mention of roller bearings, not even in the parts list. The parts list is illustrated in Photo #4.

Unless the Pony was made only for the Montgomery Ward Company, we can assume that many other small engine needs were met by this engine. However, it was not offered separately in the engine section of the Montgomery Ward catalog with the .Sattley engines.

Operation: Operation of the Pony should be straightforward. The first time it is run the needle valve should be closed by gently screwing it in clockwise. Do not force it and damage the seat. Then unscrew it ? turn counterclockwise. It should not need to be touched again.

The carburetor air valve should be almost shut for starting. After the engine is running, the shutters should be moved to about ? open.

The governor is a hit and miss so the Pony will not fire every revolution unless it has a heavy load. Run three to four minutes to warm up before putting on a load.

Fuel mix is one part 2-stroke oil to 24 parts high test gasoline. Instructions say not to use ethyl. With modern lubricants and low engine loads at shows you can experiment with slightly less oil to cut out that nasty 2-stroke smoke. Your neighbors will think a lot more of you.

Although the Pony shown in American Gas Engines Since 1876 has a foot starter and flywheel magneto, most seem to be pull start with low-tension mag. A flat fiber belt with a 'D' handle is wrapped around the starter drum and pulled. A dog inside the drum releases the strap when the engine starts.

Ignition: Ponys are equipped with an Associated mag with the same frame as that used on the John Deere E. The Pony mag has a high-tension winding that is not present on the E. Parts are pot metal and easy to break. Be careful! Wes White, P.O. Box 61, Morden, Manitoba, Canada ROG 1J0 has some experience working on these and is known to do good work.

The magneto points are under the round cap (aluminum or brass) on the side of the mag. They must be clean and free-working but they are easy to break.

The condenser is sealed inside a fragile pot-metal tower beside the magneto. It cannot be repaired and is often broken off. A Briggs and Stratton magneto condenser can be strapped to the mag with the condenser case grounded to the mag. The condenser wire is attached to the positive side of the points.

The spark plug is the Vi inch size commonly used on the Model T Ford.

The governor operates on the magneto drive gear and shorts out the primary circuit when maximum speed is reached. A brush is pushed against the collector ring next to the mag gear to short the mag and slow engine speed.

Wiring: The large wire between the magnet legs goes directly to the spark plug. The wire from the positive side of the points inside the round cover is attached to the condenser. The wire from the ground post under the round cover goes to the collector ring part of the govenor.

Problems and Solutions: Unfortunately, in 1927, the Pony engine had some problems. C.H. Wendel's Gas Engines quotes the former factory superintendent of the Associated plant as saying, 'for every 100 we shipped it seemed like we got 200 back.' They may have been kept at Associated's Independence plant for several years, then scrapped.

Montgomery Ward may have solved its problems by having a ? horsepower Sattley developed. The May-June 1969 GEM shows such an engine as a 4-stroke, air cooled upright. Unfortunately, Montgomery Ward did not respond to my questions so I do not know which engine actually came first.

A major problem may have been excessive crankcase pressure that killed the engine after a short running time. Photo #5 shows a solution from Rich Krumm of Sunset Hills,' Missouri. A 1/16 inch hole drilled in the spot at the end of the pointer relieves the excess crankcase pressure without causing oil to blow out. Put a small plug in the hole before you start the engine. After it is running, if it starts to sputter, pull the plug. You have to walk away from it and let it straighten itself out. It should run well with this change.

The condenser, magneto and pot metal problems have already been discussed. While these problems can be solved by the modern engine restorer, they would have been too much for the 1927 housewife.

Other: Color-The catalog indicates the original color was dark. Several people have written to say they were black. There is also some evidence that they may have been blue. The owners manual says the gas filler plug is red.

Popularity-Many shows have Ponys on display but few of the owners have ever been able to get them to run. With their large brass serial plate, big magneto and shiny paint they always look good. But the frustration!

Help-For those not familiar with 2-stroke engines, a Maytag owner may be able to give some advice. If some of your parts are extremely bad you might even be able to make some Maytag parts fit.

A Pony Party: I was so frustrated that I traded my Pony for an engine that runs, but I'm a little sorry.

Here's the deal. I am no longer interested in Ponys but if you are interested in getting in contact with other Pony owners, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to me with the following information: name, address, phone number, engine serial number, original use if known, whether foot or strap start, flywheel or separate magneto, and any repair or parts service you may have.

Two months after this article appears I will compile the information I have received and send it to all who participate. I will include owners, restoration services and all who respond. Sattley owners can write too. If you do not respond in time please do not ask for a copy. I will have donated everything to the Reflector. I will not be responsible for errors, lost letters, etc. since I'm just doing this as a favor to GEM readers.

After you get the list you can write to each other, start a club or whatever. At least you will have pen pals.

Send your information to me at the above address.