Surprise! This story isn't about Hercules engines, it's about Waterloo Economy engines, which bear a slight relationship to Hercules. As I mentioned in a past column (GEM, March 2003), Waterloo Economy engines were the forerunners to the 'Sparta' Economy engines. These engines used the typical early Waterloo fuel-and-governor systems patented by Louis W.
Witry and assigned to the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Co., Waterloo, Iowa. Later Waterloo engines used a Lunkenheimer fuel mixer and had governor weights located in the flywheels.
The Waterloo Gas Engine Co. was well-known for its engines, many of which were sold to jobbers and wholesalers. In fact, just about any company that wanted to sell its own brand of engine could contract through Waterloo Gasoline Engine Co.
Cement mixer manufacturer Jaeger Machine Co., Columbus, Ohio, was among the major brands that bought Hercules-built engines. Interestingly enough, however, Waterloo produced engines for Jaeger before Hercules. If you're in doubt, flip to page 256 of C. H. Wendel's American Gasoline Engines Since 1872, and you'll see a Waterloo-type engine in a Jaeger Machine Co. mixer.
Iowa-built engines were featured at the 2003 Midwest Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. My good friend George Martin of Wyaconda, Mo., brought about 15 Waterloo-built engines, all produced for other engine companies. Check out the wide variety of engines Waterloo made for other companies in the picture below.
During the next few years, a long list of engine manufacturers will celebrate their centennial anniversaries. Hercules won't be one of them, but the firm will celebrate its 90th birthday, and Sparta Economy will celebrate its 95th birthday. Also, the Southern Indiana Antique and Machinery Club's annual Classic Iron Show (June 11-13, 2004) will feature both brands. So in the meantime, shine up those engines and get them ready for the festivities!
Glenn Karch is a noted authority on Hercules engines. Contact him at: 20601 Old State Road, Haubstadt, IN 47639, or e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org