Krueger-Atlas Engines

Krueger-Atlas engine

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Pictured here are Krueger-Atlas engines owned by O. B. Maloy of 7308 Ladybug, Austin, Texas 78744 (phone number 512-442-3091). He tells the story of finding his first Krueger-Atlas while engine-hunting near San Antonio.

He walked into a bar in a small settlement and asked if anyone knew of any old engines. To his surprise, a man in the bar said, 'Yes, there is one in my yard.' They drove to the man's house and discovered a Krueger-Atlas 4 HP which, he was told, belonged to the local Bowling Club. They had used it many years earlier to pump water to the club. Since it belonged to them, the members had to get together and decide if they wanted to sell or not. They agreed, settled on a price, and sold the engine to Maloy.

Since then, Mr. Maloy has bought 6, 16, 27, and 35 HP hit and miss Krueger-Atlas engines. These engines are all tank cooled with vertical fly-ball governors and bronze rod and main bearings. He recently found a 6 HP Krueger-Atlas Jr. which is hopper cooled. Maloy has found about 12 Krueger-Atlas engines so far.

Mr. Max Krueger opened the San Antonio Machine and Supply Co. in 1890. About 1910, he purchased the Atlas factory of Indianapolis, Indiana. The first Krueger-Atlas catalog was printed in 1912.

An interesting account of the life and adventures of Max Krueger is found in the book Second Fatherland-The Life and Fortunes of a German Immigrant (edited by Marilyn McAdams Sibley and published by the Texas A & M University press). This book is a translation from the original German of the memoirs of Max Krueger, written at the age of 74. He recalls his life in America from his arrival in 1868 as a well-educated but penniless and somewhat sickly German boy of 16. His stories of life in the 'Wild West' are fascinating to modern readers and reveal the character of a very intelligent, persistent person who was a keen observer of Mother Nature and human nature.

Krueger eventually established himself as a rancher in Texas and made his first fortune while raising a family of 12 children with Emily, the wife he married while still a teenager. A period of severe drought brought this fortune to an end for Krueger at age 48, but his strong character and interest in machinery led him to embark on a career as a businessman and to eventually establish the Krueger-Atlas Engine Co.

O. B. Maloy has a copy of the 1912 Krueger-Atlas catalog which describes engine operations and includes dimensions and parts lists. The catalog relates, no doubt in Krueger's words, the reasons for his decision to establish the company:

After several years' experience as sales agents and jobbers for some of the largest gasoline engine factories in the country, we decided to enter upon the manufacture of engines ourselves.

This decision was reached because we found it difficult to find a first-class engine; also because the factories were located so far away that exasperating delays were experienced in getting engines and repairs, and because when repairs were received they did not fit, on account of mistakes in filling orders or poor workmanship.

Our extended experience and investigations in this field proved to us that the best engine on the market was the Atlas, and after months of negotiation we succeeded in buying the Atlas factory, including all patterns, drawings, special tools, good will, etc., which we later moved to San Antonio.

Several improvements, especially adapting it to the requirements of Texas trade, were added to the Atlas engine, and this improved machine we are now manufacturing in San Antonio under the name Krueger-Atlas in the largest and best equipped exclusive gas engine factory in the south.

Mr. Maloy would like to hear from anyone who has an Atlas or Krueger-Atlas engine.