Readers' Engine Questions

Unidentified Engine

37/8/2A: Unidentified engine. Could this be a Waterloo-built Economy?

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A Brief Word

As we told you last issue, C.H. Wendel suffered a stroke on May 3, and we're happy to be able to say his recovery is going very well. Charles contacted us shortly before we went to press, and the following is what he had to say:

I am now out of hospital and recuperating at home, with therapy three times a week. In a couple of months I hope to rejoin the Reflections column, but here in early June I still tire easily and don't have a lot of stamina yet, although it is improving every day.

Thanks to everyone who sent cards and flowers! Thanks also to the many clubs who sent get-well greetings. Your kindness is greatly appreciated and will always be remembered! It is amazing that a tiny little clot can cause such havoc! Praise the Lord it wasn't any bigger!
C.H. Wendel Ames, Iowa

Good news, indeed. If his rapid recovery is any indication, it looks like we'll have Charles back in the Reflections driver's seat in short order. So with that good news we'll launch into this month's installment, beginning with a request:

37/8/1: Planet Jr.

I'm looking for help with my Planet Jr. garden tractor made by S.L. Allen & Co., Philadelphia, Pa. It's a Type B, s/n B727. The engine is a REO Motors Inc., Lansing, Mich., Model 552, Type A, s/n 128938. Any help on manufacture date or colors is appreciated, I will answer all replies. Elza Ketchum, P.O. Box 465, Poynette, WI 53955, (608) 635-4492.

37/8/2: Unidentified Engine MacLeod Gas Engine

Q: I have one engine I'm trying to identify, and another I need information on.

The unidentified engine looks a lot like the Sear's Economy built by Holm's as shown on page 456 of Wendel's American Gasoline Engine Since 1872, only it has a different governor system.

It's a 2-1/2 HP engine, and it has 2-1/2 stamped on the rocker arm and carb bowl. It has the number 48602 on the end of the crankshaft. Could that mean it's a 1912 built by Waterloo? I'm missing the governor flyweights and other governor pieces.

The other engine is a MacLeod from Winnipeg, Canada, s/n 6563. It is a throttle-governed 3 HP engine, 450 rpm. I'm trying to find out more about the company that made it and when it was made. If anyone can help, please call or write to me. Jim Martin, 3930 Camp Ground Road, Austin, AR 72007, (501) 605-8895.

A: Your first engine does look a lot like the early engines from Holm's Machine Manufacturing Co., Sparta, Mich., aka the 'Sparta' engines, and sold by Sears. However, the number on the crank certainly could source it as a Waterloo, who built engines for Sear's before Holm's stepped in. The number you provided, if it is a Waterloo, does indeed match up to 1912 Waterloo production. Does anyone know more? As for your MacLeod, we haven't come up with any information. Perhaps one of our readers can help.

37/8/3: Witte Engines

Q: Could you please tell me the year of two Witte engines? The first is a 2 HP, s/n B31009. The second is also a 2 HP, s/n B9487. Thank you very much for any information. Forrest L. Miller, 807-R Montgomery Ave., Boyertown, PA 19512.

A: According to Wendel's Notebook, s/n B31009 was built in 1926 and s/n B9487 was built in 1924.

37/8/4: Hard Oil

John C. Heider, 988 Iron Horse Place, Monticello, IL 61856, writes in with a query we can't answer, but perhaps one of our readers can help. John writes:

The Heider tractor used a fiber band to transfer engine power to the drive mechanism. They called it a friction drive tractor. In a section of the Heider tractor operator's manual, entitled Care of Fibre, it instructs the operator to apply 'a little thresher hard oil on the fibre, which will prolong the life of it wonderfully.' What is thresher hard oil? I have my suspicion 'hard oil' is grease.

37/8/5: Regal Gas Engine in Australia

Q: See the photos of a Regal gas engine made in the U.S. It's about 1-1/2 HP to 2 HP, and on the maker's plate it says: Regal Gas Engine Co., Coldwater, Mich. USA, s/n 2491. It has battery ignition and casting numbers ranging from El to El5. I would be grateful if any of your readers can tell me more about this engine. Lance Wilson, 31 Acacia Drive, Telegraph Point, N.S.W. 2441, Australia.

A: The Regal Gas Engine Co. of Coldwater, Mich., can be traced to 1901, evidently nothing more than a change in name from the previous Shugar Gasoline Engine Works, Colwater, Mich. According to Wendel's American Gasoline Engines Since 1872, Regal built marine engines initially, but in 1914 turned its attention to the growing market for home light plants. This makes it likely your engine was originally equipped with a generator. Indications are Regal went out of business sometime in the 1920s