The gas engine hobby is full of little mysteries and surprises.
Back around 1990, Peter Himmelheber of Maryland sent me some
pictures of a ‘Loane’ engine, which was a Hercules
look-alike that didn’t have the generic Hercules tag on it.
Apparently, that tag was missing. That was the only Loane engine
On Feb. 25, 2004, that all changed when Gary Martin of West
Virginia called me to describe an engine he had recently obtained
in Maryland: a Loane engine. It has the generic Hercules tag on it
with 3 HP Model H and serial no. 3206#9 (the fifth digit is
missing). The engine also has two other tags on it.
One is the Loane tag, which reads, ‘Loane Machinery Co.,
Manufacturers and Distributors, Baltimore, Maryland.’ The other
tag – here’s the surprise – is the typical Jaeger Machine Co.,
Columbus, Ohio, tag designating the unit it came from as ‘5
L,’ which stands for the size of concrete mixer and the
configuration of the whole unit.
Both the engine’s serial number and the ‘H’ indicate
it was built in 1924. The missing digit in the serial number must
have happened at the tag-supply company, because Hercules purchased
its tags with the serial numbers pre-stamped. The horsepower, model
and rpm were later stamped at Hercules, as groups of tags were set
aside from time to time for various-sized engines.
Loane was most likely a distributor for Jaeger concrete mixers
and related equipment in the eastern United States rather than the
manufacturer. Farther west, it’s not uncommon for a Jaeger
engine to have three tags, but the third is usually a Roy C. Wayne
tag. The Wayne Co. was – and still is – a supplier of construction
equipment, with Caterpillar as one of its major brands.
The 3 HP engine reported here is then a Jaeger engine. It has
the telltale blue cylinder and hopper, but the base is reportedly
black, and the flywheels are red. I suspect the black and red
colors were added somewhere along the line.
As a side note, Jaeger engines were built with nine different
horsepower ratings. They included the 2 HP, 2 HP (re-rated to
2-1/2), 3 HP (re-rated to 3-1/2), 5 HP (re-rated to 6) and 7 HP
(re-rated to 8).
The Hercules-built Jaeger engine era began in 1921 with the E
models and ended in 1929 with the S models. At various times during
that Jaeger-brand era, the firm had some distinctive
characteristics. Those included the oiler pipe brace, the vertical
fuel spout, the spark plug in the head and the three-hole
flywheels. The firm also produced an interesting 8 HP Jaeger engine
with the half base and special flywheels.
Glenn Karch is a noted authority on Hercules engines. Contact
him at: 20601 Old State Road, Haubstadt, IN 47639;