Sparta Model A Economy Gas Engines

By Staff
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A Sparta Economy Model A gas engine.
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A Sparta Economy Model A gas engine.
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A 'Sparta' Economy instruction book printed by Sears, Roebuck & Co. gives collectors much more detail about these engines than many other manuals.
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A marvelously colored 14-by-21-inch Sears circular touted the improved features of its Economy engine line.

Old-engine collectors seem to have a renewed interest in “Sparta” Economy gas engines as of late.
Sparta Economy gasoline engines were first produced in the spring of 1909 for Sears, Roebuck & Co., by Holm Machine Manufacturing Co. of Sparta, Mich., a wholly owned company. The first engines the firm produced were the Model A Economys, with total production of about 1,500 engines. The serial number range of the Economy Model A engines reported so far is 526 to 1391.

Economy Price List circa 1909

HP

Engine only

On trucks

With saw

2

46.95

$59.85

N/A

4

$79.45

$99.15

$169.95

6

S 109.75

$156.50

$249.65

8

S168.95

$226.80

$294.75

10

$243.45

$326.90

$369.45

The price listing taken from the Sears Economy circular.

Although they were produced in 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 HP sizes, only the 2, 4, and 6 HP engines have been reported to still exist. In total, 22 Model A Economy engines are found on the current registry.

Fortunately, two very good pieces of descriptive literature about these engines still survive. One is an instruction manual and parts list that contains much more descriptive detail than many other manuals of the era, and the other is a circular measuring 14-by-21 inches that’s printed on both sides in color and shows engines with various details and prices. Interestingly, someone wrote in beautiful script a Nov. 27, 1909, date in the lower margin.

Later Model A Economy engines featured a shallow fuel primer and choke cup, along with a raised hopper lip, indicative of ways Holm Machine changed the model to produce a better engine. Knowing these changes enables collectors to evaluate when an engine was produced.

Later Model A Economy engines featured a shallow fuel primer and choke cup, along with a raised hopper lip, indicative of ways Holm Machine changed the model to produce a better engine. Knowing these changes enables collectors to evaluate when an engine was produced.

Several characteristics separate the Model A from the later-model Economys. The Model A has solid-flywheel hubs and uses a gib key for tightening. It has a distinctively raised hopper lip and uses the Witry-patented fuel system similar to that used on the Waterloo-built engines of the time. The fuel tank is cast into the base. Later Model A Economys also have a shallow fuel primer and choke cup.

By late 1909, Economy Model A engines were replaced with a slightly modified Model B Economy engine, but that subject will have to wait until next time.

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