John Deere Brass Tag Engines

On the Lookout for Counterfeits

| September/October 2002

  • Brass tag Model E
    An example of an early 'brass tag' Model E.
  • Model Es
    Later Model Es have a smaller tag affixed to the governor cover.

  • Brass tag Model E
  • Model Es

In its first few years of production the John Deere Model E gas engine was manufactured by the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Co., which John Deere bought in 1918. These early engines had a large brass tag, approximately 3-3/4-inch x 1-5/8-inch, affixed to the base of the engine under the gasoline filler opening. The tag noted the type, serial number, horsepower and rpm of the engine.

Following that, a brass tag identifying the serial number only was affixed to the governor cover of the engine. Thus, most engine enthusiasts refer to John Deere Model E gas engines so affixed as 'brass tag' engines. If the tag on the engine contains only the serial number and is located on the governor, it is not a 'brass tag' engine.

The 'brass tag' engines are generally more desirable, and in turn more valuable. It should be noted that 'brass tag' engines have been counterfeited by altering the governor cover and exchanging the original tag for a 'brass tag.' Careful examination of the governor cover can usually uncover a counterfeit engine.

Contact engine enthusiast Bob Giger at: 9712 N.W. 31st Ave., Vancouver, WA 98665, or e-mail:


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