1910 Sparta Economy Model C

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Glenn Karch is a noted authority on Hercules engines.

A look at the circa-1910 ‘Sparta’ Economy Model C engine reveals something of a mystery. Rather than being an engine with extended production history, the Model C appears to be a transitional model slotted in between the Model B and Model CA.

The Model C uses a dry head, and the igniter trip bracket adjusts with nuts on the round threaded siderod. It’s the last Economy model to use the governor speed control developed by John Holm. Serial numbers for these engines range from 10,000 to 12,000.

Another mystery concerns a 2 HP engine, serial no. 10034, owned by Michael Duggins of Kernersville, N.C. (Photo 1). The unusual steel band around the top of the hopper makes it the only engine known that has this feature. Its purpose is unknown, and perhaps it was simply a decorative change from the normal hopper insert.

The Model C has three raised bosses below the igniter area on the engine base, but there is no reference in any available literature telling what they were for. However, catalogs of the time offered a Remy low-tension magneto. It’s possible the bosses were for a bracket for the Remy magneto so it could run off the flywheel. A few early 2 HP Model CAs had these bosses (Photo 2).

Additionally, all Model C engines came equipped with Essex fuel mixers, as seen in Photo 3.

Twenty-two Model Cs are currently known to exist, but one question still remains: Did Model C Economy engines come in larger sizes? From data collected so far, it doesn’t appear any Model C engines were built in large horsepower sizes. Some larger Economy engines fall into this serial number range, but they all appear to be of the Model CA design. The Sears general catalog and a special catalog show these engines with Model C characteristics, but the buyer most likely received a Model CA.

A final mystery surrounding the Model C engines is a 1-1/2 HP half-base engine, serial no. 11319. It sports the Holm governor control and probably a 2 HP hopper and a wet head. But the fuel and ignition systems have been modified, making positive identification difficult. Literature shows a 1-1/2 HP ‘Little Wonder’ engine of this era, but the hopper illustration is smaller than a Model C, and its bore and stroke are 3-3/4-by-5-1/2 inches, as seen in Photo 4.

Contact him at: 20601 Old State Road, Haubstadt, IN 47639;glenn.karch@gte.net

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