Reprinted from the April 1997 issue of the
Gas Engine Magazine

Sparta Economy Engine News

by Glenn Karch
20601
Old State Road
Haubstadt, Indiana 47639

The last of the five Economy "look alikes" are not Sparta Economy engines at all. They are the early 1914 production from the new Hercules Gas Engine Company factory at Evansville,. Indiana.

The same block style and most other features introduced at Sparta in 1912 were used in early 1914 to produce the 1 1/2 HP models D and E. The D was very similar to the previously described Sparta Economy model CX. The differences included a cast iron fuel mixer as shown below, with a check valve rather than the brass Lukenheimer fuel mixer. The fuel pipe and cap was changed to a cast iron spout with a hinged cast iron lid. It also used the slanting Economy decal. The model D had no tag. Sometimes it had 1 1/2 D and a two, three or four digit number stamped on the near side crankshaft end.

It was priced at $29.95 with the Elkhart magneto a $9.95 option. It is estimated that some 1,500 1 1/2 HP model D engines were built, with 15 currently known. Shown below is a Hercules brand model D with a sheet metal crankguard.

HercNews6-97d.jpg (10497 bytes)

 

The last of the five "look alikes" is the early 1'/2 HP model E Economy.

HercNews6-97a.jpg (6719 bytes)

The major change from the D was the addition of a speed control device to the governor. The early 11/2 HP model E had the tag located on the engine base below the side rod as shown here. Some early E models used the same fuel mixer as the D, but some had an early "J" type mixer as shown at center.

HercNews6-97c.jpg (1338 bytes) HercNews6-97b.jpg (1759 bytes)

Note that the threads are cut right onto the casting rather than as the later ones with the casting around a pipe nipple. There is a bump of unknown use on the elbow. There is a web where the choke attaching screw goes. It is estimated that some 1,500 l'/2 HP model E engines with the tag on the base were built, with 14 currently known. Serial numbers are in the 50,000 to 57,000 range. Number 56,656 is shown above.

If observations are correct, interest is running high among Economy collectors for any of the five "look alikes." Since most of the parts on these five engines, as well as those on many of the later models, interchange, quite often as engines were repaired parts became mixed and matched. That often adds to the confusion of properly identifying the five "look alikes."

I am sure that several of the engines recently described will turn up at the Classic Iron Show June 13, 14, & 15 at Evansville, Indiana.

Coming up next time is the rest of the Sparta model CX line.

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