Hercules Engine News

Webster Magnetos

| February 2005

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    A typical Economy 1-1/2 HP Model E engine, no. 200054, with the Webster M magneto system is shown here.
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    Shown here is engine no. 203954, a 1-1/2 HP Model E Economy with the larger Webster K magneto system.
  • 02-05-016-Herc-3.jpg
    A 2 HP Niagara engine, no. 3020, built at Plessisville, Quebec in 1938, is shown here with the MM magneto on the 303M1 bracket.

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When you think of 1-1/2 HP Model E Hercules or Economy engines, you often expect them to have the typical Webster M magneto and igniter bracket no. 303M1. This was an option in 1915 and 1916, and was standard equipment from 1917 to 1921. The M magneto system, when in good operating condition, produced 8-1/2 volts of electrical current.

Somewhere along the line a larger size Webster magneto system was made available for these small engines. It was likely the seldom-seen "field change" kit. It is the Webster K magneto with the 303K30 igniter bracket. This bracket has a wider space between the inner and outer mounting holes so it can be fitted with the wider K magneto. In the list of Webster magneto applications, this bracket is not listed in any of the Webster magneto literature I've seen. The Webster K magneto produced 9-1/2 volts of electrical current, which would have made for a hotter spark. Perhaps it made for easier starting in cold climates?

In Canada, a very similar engine, the Niagara, was produced from 1919 until 1942. During this time period, the Webster magneto with the 303M1 bracket was used. But there was one big difference: It used the MM Webster magneto that is similar to the M Webster, except that it has two heavy horseshoe magnets instead of one. The MM Webster mounted in the same holes as the M, but it could produce 13 volts of electrical current.

Glenn Karch is a noted authority on Hercules engines. Contact him at: 20601 Old State Road, Haubstadt, IN 47639; glenn.karch@gte.net


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