Early model pre-1926 Engine

Figure A. Early model pre-1926.

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In the March-April 1980 issue of G.E.M., I wrote a letter asking the question: 'What is the difference between the Hercules Corporation of Evansville, Indiana, The Economy Gasoline Engine of Sparta, Michigan; The Jaeger Machine Company of Columbus, Ohio, and The Arco Engine Company?'

I would like to thank all of those people from all over the country who answered my letter and share some information and answers that I received.

All of these engines were built by Hercules at Evansville, Indiana. They were sold to Sears and Roebuck under the name of Economy, (not the old Economy), Jaeger Machine Company which used them on cement mixers, and the Arco Engine Company. The serial numbers on these engines ran consecutively regardless of the make and horsepower.

The Hercules engine was painted green with black pin stripes. The Jaeger was painted light blue with gold pin stripes and lettering. The Economy was painted red with black pin stripes. The Arco Engine Company was painted black with red pin stripes.

Hercules (and a few Jaeger engines) had round sided hoppers with an oval water hole. However, most Jaeger, Arco and Economy engines had squared hoppers with a rectangular water hole.

The late Hercules engines had solid flywheels with three round holes. (I feel these flywheels were safer than the older six spoke type, but they were not as nice looking.) These later engines with horsepower ratings of 1?, 2? and 3? all had partial bases and had to be on wooden skids for ground clearance of the flywheels. On these models the position of the magneto was changed from along side the hopper to the front beside the head (see figure A and B).

Full bases were used on the later models of the 6 HP and 8 HP engines. The position of the magneto on these engines was the same as on the earlier models. The flywheels on these engines were solid, the same as on the smaller horsepower engines.

To find the type of magneto with which your engine was manufactured, look on the top of the water hopper for the serial number. If it is under #292000 it was supplied with a Webster Tripolar oscillator. If the number is over 292000 the engine was supplied with a Wico magneto. The date of the engine with this number left the factory between 1922 and 1923.

On many Hercules engines the date was written on the water hopper behind the magneto. This left a slight impression under the paint. It is possible to see the date of an engine that still has the factory paint on it.

Between 1924 and 1925 Hercules changed the horsepower ratings of their engines without altering the design. These changes were; 1? to1?; 3 to 3?; 5 to 6; 7 to 8; 9 to 10; 12 to 14. In 1925 and for sometime thereafter, the following Economy engines may be considered as the same: (1? -1?),(3-3?),(5-6),(7-8),(9-10),(12 - 14). This is a result of the large number of engines they had in stock during the time of the Hercules horsepower change.

If any of this information is incorrect, I would appreciate hearing from anyone who can help.

I have a 3 HP Jaeger. On the outer side of the flywheel on this engine there are grooves (see figure C). What is the purpose of these grooves?

One further question: what is the best for an engine with some original paint and partial decals? Repaint and add new decals or just leave it alone?

All letters will be answered.