A Brief History of the Majestic Gasoline Engine Company
Bill William's 1921 5 HP Majestic.
The Majestic Gasoline Engine Company was owned by the Hartman Company of Chicago, Ill., which began business around 1855. From the beginning of production of the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company's 'Waterloo Boy' engine of 1906, until March of 1918, engines with the Majestic name, color and serial number applied were shipped directly to customers from the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company in Waterloo, Iowa, or from one of its branch warehouses.
Production was likely carried out at the Hedford foundry, which also made Associated, Galloway and several other brands. By 1917 the Hartman Company product line of 'Majestic Farm Necessities' included cream separators, saws, concrete mixers, corn shellers, sprayers, fanning mills, cooking kettles, washing machines, cultivators, plows, hog oilers, egg incubators, grinders for feed and coffee, tools - and all with one year to pay and with no interest.
The Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company was sold to Deere & Company in March 1918 for $2.1 million. Because of the change in ownership, production of engines for the 64-plus customers such as the Hartman Company soon ceased. The original Waterloo Boy model continued to be produced by Deere through 1920. In 1921, Waterloo introduced the H gasoline and K kerosene models, with many mechanical changes. In 1923, production of the renowned John Deere Type E began, and continued through 1946.
Around 1918, and perhaps because of the Waterloo sale, Majestic became a division of Hastine Enterprises, owner of the National Dairy Machine Company, which produced the National Cream Separator. LeRoy I. Baker was manager. Engines were then machined, assembled and tested by the Majestic Engine Works at South 9th and New York streets in Goshen, Ind. Castings in 2 HP to 14 HP from Waterloo patterns were produced at a foundry in Wabash, Ind.
It seems that an arrangement with Waterloo was maintained to supply crankshafts and perhaps other parts used in assembly at Goshen. It is being found that Waterloo serial numbers continued to be used on engines produced at the Goshen/Wabash operation. These are the Majestic serial numbers in the 180000 and 200000 series that mesh with Waterloo serial numbers without duplication.
Aftermarket Color Guide
IH Red #50 NAPA #90R-224 PPG #70019
CarQuest Bravo #15-0091L Black flywheel rims (optional)
Engines were shipped from the Goshen factory to supply houses around the country. Leroy Baker Jr., remembers as a young man helping with the inventory of finished engines in stock. Engines were crated and stacked on end, and his job, being a boy of small stature, was to crawl between the rows of engines and check serial numbers. The company was in business until 1925, with Herbert Ransom as the manager at its closing.
The earliest engines from the beginning of production in 1906 had an 'H' before a four-digit serial number; the H probably stood for Hartman. As serial numbers progressed to five digits, the H was dropped. An identification tag is usually found on the Waterloo-produced engines through 1920. In 1921, with the 180000 and 200000 serial numbers, engines were shipped from the Goshen factory, usually with no tag. Production seems to have continued at the Goshen factory through 1925. In 1926, the Fantus-Majestic Company of Chicago, 111., sold the remaining inventory at half price.
Contact engine enthusiast James W. Priestley at 117 Lind Street, McMinnville, TN 37110, or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Majestic Home Page can be found at: http://www.geocities.com/oldengine2