Reprinted from the January 1997 issue of the
Gas Engine Magazine

Sparta Economy Engine News

by Glenn Karch
Old State Road
Haubstadt, Indiana 47639

ate in 1909 the Model A Sparta Economy engine was discontinued and the model B was introduced. The model B had many features of the model A, but there also were some changes. The most notable was in the water hopper. Gone was the hopper opening with the raised lip. The model B hopper was flat on top with the rectangular removable "hopper ring" which be-came a Sparta trademark. Model B serial numbers began around 1200 and continued through about 6000 making production of 4800 engines.

It should be pointed out that there were never dramatic changes. Rather, it was just a gradual metamorphosis beginning with the Waterloo Economy in 1908 and continuing through the S model built by Hercules 1925-29.

The identification tag was modified to the style shown and remained so until the end of production of the Sparta type engines. However, a few of the late 1 HP Sparta type engines built in Evansville by Hercules in 1914 had a different tag.

The igniter holder was originally held to the side rod with a pin passing through both. This was changed to two set screws on the bottom, which allowed for some adjustment at that point; otherwise, timing adjustments were made by screwing the trip finger in or out of the holder.

The model B had split hub flywheels with two clamping bolts. It retained the same speed control that Holm had applied for a patent on. The Essex fuel mixer was standard. The fuel tank was changed to a sheet metal one in the base. The cast iron fuel spout had a pipe plug cap that screwed down into the funnel shaped top.

An original model B instruction book exists but it is too fragile to handle or copy. It came with engine number 1391. The accompanying bill of sale was dated November 1, 1909.

It is interesting to note that engines matching the model B description never appear in the Sears catalogs. The illustrations go from the model A in the spring 1910 issue (the model A had already been discontinued) to the short-lived model C in the fall 1910 issue.

The catalog text goes to great length about how they do not have a lot of high priced people in their organization so they can keep the engine prices low without sacrificing quality. Their only high paid person is the superintendent who they say is the best in the business and is worth his high pay. Another catalog note relates to the engine color. Simply stated, they were painted vermilion, which Webster translates into "bright red." Today X-O-Rust IHC red available at Tru Value hardware stores seems to be a good choice.

Coming up next time is the model C, the 4000 serial number gap and why three raised bosses on the 2 HP engine base.

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