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The Atlas Engine: An Indiana Engine in Texas

Harry Seidensticker’s 1907 4hp Atlas engine is sure a well-traveled one, ending up in Texas by way of Indiana, while exchanging a few hands along the way.

| October/November 2019

The Krueger-Atlas factory in San Antonio, Texas, in the early 1990s.

Circa-1907 4hp Atlas

Manufacturer: Atlas engine Work, Indianapolis, IN
Year: Circa 1907
Serial No.: 29744
Horsepower: 4hp @ 425rpm
Bore & stroke: 5in x 8in
Flywheels: 36in x 2-1/4in
Belt Pulley: 12in x 12in
Ignition: Spark plug w/magneto Hit-and-miss with vertical flyball governor
Fuel: Gasoline
Cooling: Tank, thermosiphon

The Indianapolis Car Works was established during the early 1870s. It manufactured a variety of products upon demand. In 1874 the company was reorganized as the Atlas Works, and again in 1878 as the Atlas Engine Works. The company experienced rapid growth producing stationary steam engines, and in 1880 company officials decided to limit their production to steam engines and boilers. It soon became the largest company in the world devoted exclusively to the manufacture of these products. During the 1880s, Atlas was renowned for its portable farm steam engines and its steam traction engines. In 1897 production was expanded to include gasoline engines and in 1910 Atlas started producing Hvid (thermoil) diesel engines. In 1878 the Atlas Engine Works had 600 employees; by 1902, the company employed approximately 1,500 workers.

Atlas engines

Harry Seidensticker’s circa-1907 4hp Atlas. The truck is a repurposed farm wagon.

The Atlas Engine Works produced 2hp to 5hp vertical gasoline engines and 6hp to 24hp horizontal gasoline engines, as well as steam engines and diesel engines. By 1907, the 5hp gasoline engine had been replaced by a 4hp model. Atlas gasoline engines had separate fuel tanks. Gasoline engines sold as King Bee engines had the fuel tank incorporated in the base. Both lines had separate cooling tanks. Engines were numbered in sequence, regardless of whether they were steam engines, gasoline engines or diesel engines.

A close-up of the vertical flyball governor on Harry Seidensticker’s 4hp Atlas.


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