Waterloo Serial Numbers




                                                            12 JUNE 13


         The Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company began business in 1893 with the intent of building gasoline tractors. Sales were slow so the company reorganized and engine production began in 1895.  In 1906, the company began production of its "Waterloo Boy" hopper-cooled and air-cooled (1909-1914) open crank engine that characterized its well-known line for the next fifteen years. Its design supposedly came from Jeff Knowlton, a farmer and blacksmith. During this time, Waterloo became one of the “big four” manufacturers along with Fairbanks Morse, Hercules and International Harvester.  From 1906 through 1918, Waterloo engines were sold by at least sixty-seven companies with each having their own ID tag attached. The Majestic, Eaton, John Smyth, Jackson, Sandow and Waterloo Boy are some of the more common Waterloo engines.   

         After the sale of Waterloo to Deere and Company in March of 1918, the company introduced a new design with the "H” (gasoline) model with hit and miss governor and the “K” (kerosene) model with throttle governor. On both, the most visible change was the drip oiler relocated to the hopper top and there were other minor mechanical changes.

        Production of the “H” model seems to have started in mid-1919 (#201476 is the earliest found) and ceased in 1925 (#240973 is latest found). The early models were painted red. John Deere used green on their new model “E”, the same green was used on the later model “H” engines produced as they cleared out inventory. 

        Production of the “K” model seems to have started in mid-1919 (#160187 is the earliest found) and ceased in late 1921 (#231397 belonging to Dick Christianson is the latest found). The early models were painted red. John Deere also painted the “K” kerosene a bright green (See G. E. M. page 537). Van Sickle J. D. Green #5174 is a good match.

        A “Waterloo Boy Repair and Parts List No. 10” dated April 1, 1920 and a “No. 11” dated July 15, 1920 for the “K” model has been found also indicating production probably began in mid-1919. “No. 16” dated April 15, 1921 was the last publication.

        Production of the Deere type "E" began in 1921 (#200065 is the earliest found) and ended in 1946.

        Any information on “H”, “K” and “E” model engines with serial numbers before or after these listed is sought to aid in the research.

        The Deere and Company Collectors Center has provided the following list of serial numbers for the "Waterloo Boy" engines. Serial numbers are located on the I. D. tag and on the end of the crankshaft on igniter side. A few of the companies selling Waterloo engines added a letter in front of their serial numbers. Production in most, if not all, years was seven days each week. The beginning number in January for each year is listed.







                                                      SERIAL NUMBERS LIST


                             MODEL YEAR        SERIAL NUMBERS       QUANTITY     

                                1906                               4902-5279                      377

                                1907                               5280-6184                      904

                                1908                               6185-8341                    2156

                                1909                             8342-13550                    5208

                                1910                           13551-24145                  10594   

                                1911                           24146-39501                  15355

                                1912                           39502-67080                  27578     

                                1913                           67081-91672                  24591

                                1914                         91673-113017                  21344

                                1915                       113018-126548                  13530

                                1916                       126549-137642                  11093

                                1917                       137643-146034                    8391

                                1918                       146035-152396                    6361

                                1919                       152397-156361                    3964

                                1920                       156362-160003                    3641

                                1921                       160004-225999                     *

                                1922                       226000-229510                    3510**

                                1923                       229511-235520                    6009**

                                1924                       235521-239584                    4063**

                                1925                       239585-251330                  11745**

                                1926                       251331-


* Some numbers probably skipped as Waterloo Boy "H" and "K" and John Deere "E" models were all in production replacing the original model. No serial numbers in the #165000 – 179999 and #190000 – 199999 ranges have been found so far.


    ** Waterloo Boy “H” and “K” and John Deere “E” only


   Refer to the serial number list for Deere type "E" engines produced through 1946.   



                                                      CASTING DATES

        Only a few of the earliest "Waterloo Boy" engines had a casting date. Casting dates are found on the sub base under the crankshaft and are viewable through the flywheels. Check under the crankshaft on both sides of the body and all over the engine for a possible date.

        My theory on casting dates is that the first engine body produced each day was given a date. All sub bases produced that day, in various HP sizes, were lined up in a field or large warehouse. Some of the engines were able to cure for a few months while others were assembled immediately to fill an order. One engine was cast and shipped in three days and may have been a rush order. The more thermal cycles cast iron can experience, the stronger the engine. Dates have been found only on engines produced in the 1911 thru 1915 years. Many dates are for a Saturday and Sunday indicating a seven-day per week production and shipping. The shipping dates were also obtained from the John Deere Archivist. The furnaces would not be shut down so at least limited production continued around the clock. Waterloo claimed production capability of 100 engines per day in their massive facilities.

        Casting dates are important in historical research. Please forward any casting date along with the engine serial number to me for recording. Thanks for your support in continuing the Waterloo research.



                                          WATERLOO “BUMP” STARTING


         Engines equipped with a Webster magneto, “starting” handle and priming cup can be started by turning the flywheels backward against compression. This technique that can be mastered by following these steps:

1.     Choke engine and prime with gasoline. Lunkenheimer can be primed by

pushing bottom valve up until gasoline drips out.

2.     Apply compression release or hold intake valve open.

3.     Slowly rotate flywheels in normal running direction until magneto snaps.

4.     Remove compression release and open priming cup.

5.     Slowly rotate flywheels in normal running direction until piston is at bottom dead center to draw in primed gasoline charge and close priming cup.

6.     Rotate flywheels in opposite direction as hard against compression hard as possible then snap “starting” handle.



Jimmy Priestley

523 Courtney Anne Drive

McMinnville, Tennessee, 37110 USA

931~815~7775 (after 6:00pm)


Majestic Engine Homepage (One of the Waterloo engines) www.majesticengine.com