Economy Logo

Glenn's Economy Power King


Glenn’s Economy Power King was built in late 1973; it is Serial Number 30101. This makes it one of the earliest styled Economy Power King tractors, with a grill, hood, and dashboard. The tractor is a Model 1614, with 16 inch rear wheels and a 14 HP Kohler engine. It does not have a hydraulic lift.

The brass plate on the single-cylinder 14hp Kohler engine indicates that it is a Model K321S, Spec. No. 60213d engine, Serial No. 5172063.

Glenn acquired his Economy Power King at an auction in Llano, Texas, in January, 2013. The tractor satisfies a long-surpressed desire for an Economy tractor, dating back to when he used to salivate over Economy tractor ads in the back of issues of Popular Mechanics. Glenn's wife was amazingly receptive to the acquisition, which leads him to suspect that she is biding her time and banking her credits towards a major purchase of her own.


Economy Power King (right) Economy Power King (right)


SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE

One cylinder, air cooled.
Point & coil battery ignition.
3.50 inch bore, 3.25 inch stroke.
31.27 cubic inches.
14hp at 3,600 rpm.
23.8 ft.-libs. torque at 2,200 rpm.
ll8 lbs.
Champion RH10 or equivalent spartkplug (0.035 gap).
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM Kohler 12-volt starting motor with Bendix-type drive, geared to engine flywheel.
Three-position key switch.
15-amp flywheel-mounted alternator & rectifier/regulator supply.
12-volt battery current.
45-amp hour battery.
CLUTCH Six-inch single dry-disc Borg Warner, with ball-bearing throwout bearing.
Foot operated, 35 ft.-lb. torque rating.
TRANSMISSION Borg Warner.
The same transmission used in the Crosley automobile.
Three-speeds forward, one reverse.
50 ft.-lb. torque rating.
Low & reverse gear reduction - 176.5:1 (1.7mph).
Second gear reduction - 92.3:1 (3.3mph).
Third gear reduction - 53.6:1 (5.6mph).
DIFFERENTIAL Dana Corporation hypoid.
The same differential used in the Crosley automobile.
Torque capacity: 130 ft.-lb.
Reduction ratio - 5.17:1
FINAL DRIVE Spur bull-gear keyed to 1 1/2 inch diameter wheel axles.
Reduction - 10.364:1
STEERING GEAR Ross Gear Division of TRW.
12:1 reduction.
14-inch steering wheel.
BRAKES Cast drum & band.
Individual or combined actuation.
Pull-up parking brake lever.
FRAME Welded construction.
Front-axle bar 1-inch x 3-inch solid steel.
Pivot on 1 1/8 inch diameter pivot stud & two bushings.
PTO Three-groove pulley behind engine.
WHEELS & TIRES Front Tires: 4.00x12 SL 4-ply, 20 1/4 inch OD, 35 lbs. pressure.
Rear tires: 8:00x16 G-1 2-ply, 31.1/4 inch OD, 8 lbs. pressure.
Front-wheel tread width (tractor centerline to tread centerline) adjustable from 35 1/2 inches to 41 1/2 inches in 5 1/2 inch increments.
Rear-wheel tread width (tractor centerline to tread centerline) adjustable from 33 1/2 inches, to 38 1/2 inches, to 42 inches, to 46 inches.
The front wheels are identical to those used on International-Harvestor Cub tractors.
On Economy tractors with 24-inch rear wheels, the wheels are also identical to those used International-Harvestor Cub tractors.
LUBRICANTS Engine - 4 pints 10w30 detergent oil.
Transmission - 1/2 pint 80/90 gear lube (fill to 1 inch below fill hole).
Differential - 2 pints 80/90 gear lube.
Gear Cases - 1 1/2 pints 80/90 gear lube (each case).
Steering - 80/90 gear lube.
Grease Fittings - MP (#21).


DIMENSIONS Overall length - 93 inches.
Wheelbase - 54 3/8 inches.
Width - 44 1/2 inches.
Height at hood - 40 1/2 inches
Height overall - 52 1/8 inches.
Frame clearance - 16 1/2 inches.
WEIGHT Standard Tractor - 964 lbs.
PAINT NAPA code 99L-11588
ECONOMY TRACTOR
SERIAL NUMBERS
BEGINNING
SERIAL #
YEAR OF
PRODUCTION
BEGINNING
SERIAL #
YEAR OF
PRODUCTION
00101
00124
00439
01122
01601
01905
02267
02714
03262
03823
04379
04900
05434
06073
06806
07708
08503
09399
10434
11368

1946
1947
1948
1949
1950
1951
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959
1960
1961
1962
1963
1964
1965

12384
13617
15130
16776
18805
21209
23815
26727
30312
33815
33207
40523
43827
48142
52590
55832
57509
59796
61552
62750
1966
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985



A BRIEF HISTORY OF ECONOMY POWER KING TRACTORS

James E. Turner, Sr., founded the Engineering Products Company in 1946 and began producing small garden tractors in his garage in New Berlin, Wisconsin. His goal was to produce a basic tractor at a reasonable price, with the same durability as a regular farm tractor. The timing of this venture was excellent, as the Office of Price Administration (OPA), which allocated steel shipments after World War II, gave preference to garden tractor builders. Also, military surplus items were readily available after the end of the war. Turner's tractor was well received--especially with returning servicemen--and it was soon necessary to move production to larger facilities in Milwaukee. Twenty-three tractors were built in 1946; by 1950, approximately 1,600 tractors had been produced. The Engineering Products Company moved to Waukesha (Wisconsin) in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s, to Beaver Dam (Wisconsin) in 1990, to Mendota (Illinois) in 1996, and finally to Jackson (Michigan) in 1999.  

James E. Turner, Sr., continued as President of the company until his death in 1977, at which time his son, James B. Turner, Jr., became President.  

In 1988, the company was sold to the Sterling Financial Group, headed by Martin Lebus. 

Power King Products was sold again in November, 1990, to Support Services International. At that time, the name of the company was officially changed to the Power King Products Company, Inc.

HCC, Inc., (Hart Carter Corporation) acquired Power King Products in February, 1996.  

The final owner, the Yazoo-Kees Power Equipment Company, acquired the Power King Products Company in February, 1999. Yazoo ceased production of Power King products and retired the patents to eliminate competition with its own products. Yazoo changed its name to Pug Power in 2000 and filed  for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in June, 2001.

The Engineering Products Company began building tractors by buying and assembling parts produced by other companies. Engines, transmissions, wheels, tires, electrical switches, etc., were all purchased. Likewise, castings and machining were outsourced. 

The initial four-wheeled tractor was called the Economy; it weighed approximately 700 pounds, and it could pull a ten-inch plow. The Economy tractor was powered with either a Wisconsin AEH engine or a Briggs & Stratton ZZP engine. These engines each produced about six horsepower--the Wisconsin engine a little more, the Briggs & Stratton engine a little less. Later tractors were powered by Kohler engines, exclusively. 

The Economy tractor had a six-inch, single-disc dry clutch and a three-speed, non-synchronized transmission--both made by Borg-Warner and identical to those used in the Willys Jeep. Tractors produced during the 1940’s and early 1950’s had Model A Ford automotive driveshafts and differentials, with shortened rear-axles. The company scoured salvage yards for the driveshafts and differentials, and they were used through the 1960's, when an increasing scarcity forced the company to purchase new Spicer units. The rear-axles had bull-pinion gears which engaged larger bull-gears in drop-box final drives. Early Economy tractors lacked brakes; these were offered as options in the late 1940's. 

Either 16-inch or 22-inch rear rims were available; these were acquired from the International-Harvester Corporation and were identical to those used on Farmall Cub tractors. Eight-inch front wheels were standard. Early tractors had steering wheels connected to the front wheels with chain mechanisms; models produced from the late 1940's on had Ross automotive-type gear systems. The tractors were unstyled, the only sheet metal being cooling-shrouds surrounding the engines.

Early Economy tractors were outfitted with saddle-type seats obtained from the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company; more conventional metal bucket seats were introduced in the late 1940's. Economy Tractors were painted orange--J.I. Case Flambeau Red or a comparable shade. 

Five implements were available for Economy tractors: a front-mounted snowplow, a ten-inch moldboard plow, a single-row cultivator, a center-mounted belt-pulley, and an emergency generator.

Through the years, a variety of sales methods were employed, including direct sales to customers via mail order, sales through dealers, sales through distributors, and sometimes sales through a combination of these methods.

The Power King Tractor Company in Milwaukee also built garden tractors. Power King tractors were tiller-steered. They steered differently than other lever-steer tractors of that period in that the levers moved from side to side instead of forward and backward. Also, the levers moved in the direction that the drivers wished to turn instead of the opposite direction, as on other lever-steered tractors. In other words, to turn left on a Power King tractor, the steering lever was moved to the left. Transmissions were the same as those used in Crosley automobiles, chain-reduction systems were used in final drives, and Power King tractors could be outfitted with either Briggs & Stratton or Wisconsin engines. Hydraulic systems were options. The tractors weighed about 750 pounds.  Like the the Economy tractors, Power King tractors were unstyled.

By 1952, Power King tractors were advertised as being produced by the Engineering Products Company. Throughout the 1950’s, Engineering Products offered Economy and Economy Power King brands; both tiller-steered and wheel-steered models were available.

As well as marketing its own its tractors as Economy Special and Economy Power King tractors,  Engineering Products tractors were rebadged and sold by other companies. These included brands such as the Estate, Country Squire, Red-E, National, Terramite, and Snapper. Some of these companies sold rebadged Economy tractors until they were able to produce their own tractors; other companies built their own tractors but also sold rebadged Economy tractors to fill a certain niche in the market.

Information regarding the company’s production is limited, because the company did not maintain good records, and some records were later destroyed. Rebadged tractors rolled off the assembly line mixed in with Economy Special and Power King tractors. In most cases, the only difference was in the names on the tractors. The tractors were assigned serial numbers in sequence, so it is not possible to differentiate between Special and Power King and rebadged tractors by their serial numbers.  This is further complicated by the fact that the company used up its inventory as it was available, so it was quite possible that an older-styled tractor might have a newer serial number than a newer-styled one.

By the mid to late 1950’s, Economy tractors had hoods, grills and dashboards. Crosley T92 three-speed automotive transmissions were used until the mid-1980’s. Also in the mid-1980’s, the sheet metal bodies were replaced by fiberglass ones.

The Power Queen was an Economy tractor built low to the ground with the intention that it would appeal to women. Power Queen tractor production was short-lived, as the model did not sell well, and relatively few were produced.

Throughout the years, the Engineering Products Company built as many as twenty-five different model-number variations of Economy tractors; however, only three had names--the Special, the Power King and the Jim Dandy. The Economy Special was submitted to the Nebraska Tractor Test Lab in 1952 as Test Number 483 and performed flawlessly. The test results are shown following this history.

The Jim Dandy garden tractor was a smaller tractor introduced in late January, 1957; it had eight-inch front wheels instead of the twelve-inch wheels used on Power King tractors. The Jim Dandy initially was powered by a 9hp Wisconsin engine. By 1961, this had been replaced by a Briggs & Stratton engine. During the mid 1960’s, the 9hp engine was replaced by a 10hp one, and by the end of the 1960’s, the 10hp engine in turn was replaced by 12hp and 14hp Kohler engines.


In 1960, Power King garden tractors had 9hp engines; they were available in two models—the 8-16 and the 8-24. The variations were based on different-sized rear wheels.  After the mid 1960’s, 10hp, 12hp and 14hp engines followed. By the end of the 1960’s, two trim styles were offered—the Standard and the Deluxe.

By the 1970’s, four-digit numbers were used to designate the various models; these numbers were based on rear-wheel diameter and horsepower.  During the course of the 1970’s, Engineering Products’ models included the 1612, 1614, 1616, 1618, 1624, 2414, 2416, and 2418. All models were completely gear-driven, with three-speed transmissions. A second transmission was added to some tractors; this resulted in nine forward and three reverse speeds. At the time when the company adopted the four-digit numbering system, it also adopted the name Power King for all of its models. It was felt that the name Economy implied that the tractors were cheap and inferior. 
 
Until 1974, the Power King Special model had hand brakes, no lights or electric starters, and no sheet metal over the drive train—simply a tube around the drive shaft. Deluxe models had outboard-mounted headlights, electric starters, and additional sheet metal. Styled tractors were introduced in 1974;
production actually began in 1973. Hydraulic lifts, three-point hitches and dual transmissions were available as options.

Until the late 1970's-early 1980's, Economy tractors reflected James E. Turner's philosophy of consistant quality and gradual change. Purchasers of Economy tractors appreciated their basic, no-nonsense design, and their durability and reliability. After Turner's son, James B. Turner, assumed control of the company, he had to deal with a changing market and different demands. Potential customers wanted automotive styling and enhanced comfort and convenience features. In the mid-1980’s, Economy tractors were restyled, and sheet metal was replaced by fiberglass. Unfortunately, the Model 1200 Series Power King tractors with fiberglass bodies introduced in 1982 proved to be less durable than the older, steel-bodied models.

During a three-year period, from 1982 to 1985, the Engineering Products Company changed it's entire line in an effort to keep up with the times. The company began experimenting with hydrostatic transmissions in 1983. By 1985, the popular 1600 and 2400 series were redesigned to incorporate the fiberglass styling of the 1200 series. In addition, power steering and dashboards with instruments were available.

Unfortunately, these changes did not stimulate sufficient customer interest, and Engineering Products found itself at the verge of bankruptcy. The company was sold to the Sterling Financial Group, headed by Martin Lebus, in 1988. Sterling introduced the first hydrostatic transmission in the Power King Model 1620 in 1989; however, this did not result in sufficient sales to make the company profitable, so it was sold to Support Services International, Inc., in 1990.


Support Services International made a valiant effort to revitalize the company. In 1990, it was moved
from Waukesha to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, the name of the company was changed to the Power King Products Company, a new management team was organized, and the product line was redesigned and enhanced.  The Command Series was released in 1994; features included a more stream-lined body made of composite resin, dash-mounted hydraulic controls for easy access, and a new hood style for easy maintenance. Kohler engines continued to be used.

Rapidly shifting markets resulted in the sale of Power King Products to HCC, Inc., (formerly Hart Carter Corporation) in February, 1996--the 50th anniversary of the Engineering Products/Power King Products Company. At that time, the company was moved to Mendota, Illinois. Although HCC, Inc., continued to market quality Power King tractors, sales weren't deemed sufficient to support the company, and Power King Products was sold to the Yazoo-Kees Power Equipment Company in February, 1999.


Although the
Yazoo-Kees Power Equipment Company established a Power King Division at its plant in Jackson, Michigan, it never produced a single tractor. Yazoo ended the Power King Division and retired its patents to eliminate competition with its own product line. Yazoo changed its name to Pug Power in 2000 and filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in June, 2001.  

A wide variety of implements were available for Economy and Power King tractors, including belly-mount sickle mowers, belly-mount rotary mowers, plows, cultivators, planters, roto-tillers, harrows, snow blowers, front blades, rear blades, log splitters, buzz saws, rakes, front loaders, back hoes, etc.  Cabs were also available for winter-time use. 



THE CONNECTION OF RED-E AND ECONOMY POWER KING TRACTORS  

The information below was taken, with permission, from:

    Dowdy, Jim. “RED-E Tractor History and the Connection to Economy Power King,” in     Hauger, Carl, “Picking Out the EPCO-Built RED-E Four-Wheel Tractor.”Lawn & Garden     Tractor. 8:3, May/June 2014. www.lagtmag.com 

During the early 1900’s, Earl Welbourne was a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. One of his students built a tractor which Professor Welbourne felt had commercial appeal and he began producing it and offering it to the public during the early 1920’s as the RED-E Tractor. RED-E implied that the tractor was “ready;” it was actually painted green.

The RED-E Tractor was a two-wheeled walk-behind tractor. It had a one-cylinder, air-cooled, cast-iron, single-unit engine-transmission unique to the tractor; however, the engine incorporated pistons, connecting rods, valves, and a Holley carburetor produced for the Model T Ford automobile. “M.B.M Manufacturing Company, Milw., Wi” was embossed on the flywheel. After the company was renamed in the mid-1920’s,  the tractor was known as the Pioneer RED-E Power Cultivator, and the words on the flywheel were changed to “Pioneer Manufacturing Company, Milw., Wi, USA.”  

The Pioneer Manufacturing Company moved to a new factory in West Allis, Wisconsin, in 1927. At a later date, Pioneer acquired the Page Dairy and Farm Equipment Company—a firm which produced garden tractors and portable milking machines. 

By 1942, the Pioneer Manufacturing Company was offering seven models of walk-behind garden tractors. Five of these were based on the company’s initial design with proprietary engine-transmission castings. Two new models—the ZA-5A and the ZA-7A-- were based on Page tractors and utilized Briggs & Stratton engines.

Earl Welbourne was President of the Pioneer Manufacturing Company until his death during the 1940’s, at which time his son Everet Welbourne became President. In 1946, the company moved to a new plant in Richfield, Wisconsin, and at that time the name of the company was changed to the RED-E Tractor Company. The first RED-E tractors with four wheels were Page-designed tractors with rear engines. They were designated the ZA10FS and ZA 12FM. 

James E. Turner worked for the Pioneer Manufacturing Company during the 1930’s as a designer. He married Dorothy Melbourne, the daughter of Earl Melbourne . 

James Turner entered military service during the early 1940’s. When he returned from active duty, he formed the Engineering Products Company (EPCO) in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and began producing a four-wheeled garden tractor called the Economy Tractor. EPCO was one of many small companies formed to capitalize on the demand for tractors after World War II. 

The Economy Tractor had a single-cylinder, air-cooled Wisconsin engine attached to a belt-idler clutch. This, in turn, was attached to a drive train based on automobile parts, including a Crosley bell housing, clutch and transmission, and a modified Model A Ford differential geared down by bull gears at the ends of the axles. The tractor was painted orange. In the late 1950’s, the tractor became known as the Economy Power King.     

During the 1950’s, the RED-E Company offered five models, including the four-wheeled Model 15A. The Model 15A was actually an Economy Tractor painted red and rebadged as a RED-E tractor. Its serial number fell in sequence with those of other Economy tractors.  

The RED-E Tractor Company closed sometime during the 1960’s. The Engineering Products Company closed about 1992.



NEBRASKA TEST LAB TEST NO. 483
MODEL: ECONOMY SPECIAL
Engineering Products Co., Waukesha, Wisconsin
Date Tested: September 20 to September 27, 1952

Engine Briggs & Stratton 23FB vertical L-head
Test engine serial number 138957
Cylinders 1
Bore & stroke (in.) 3.00 x 3.25
Rated rpm. 3,200
Compression ratio 5.40:1
Displacement (c.i.) 22.97
Fuel gasoline
Fuel tank capacity (gal.) 2
Carburetor 23/32-in.
Ignition magneto
Cooling air
Maximum brake horsepower tests
     PTO/belt horsepower 6.23
     Crankshaft rpm. 3.201
     Fuel use (gal./hr.) 0.84
Maximum drawbar horsepower tests
     Gear 2nd
     Drawbar horsepower 5.70
     Pull weight (lb.) 491
     Speed (mph.) 4.35
     Percent slippage 4.82
SAE drawbar horsepower 4.43
SAE belt/PTO horsepower 5.54
No repairs or adjustments were noted during 38 hours of engine operating time.
Type garden, 4-wheel
Front wheel (in.) 3.00 x 12
Rear wheel (in.) 7.00 x 24
Length (in.) 83
Height (in.) 43
Rear width (in.) 40
Tread width (in.) 33-45
Weight (lb.) 770
Gear/speed (mph.) Forward: 1/25, 2/4.50/3/8'00
Reverse: 1.2.25
 The above information is an excerpt from:  Dunning, Lorry. Ultimate American Farm Tractor Data Book; Nebraska Test Tractors 1920-1960, MBI, 1999, page 124.