Lauson Small Engines

The Lauson company began building stationary gas engines in 1895, with small engine production starting around 1930. In their day, they were known for quality and innovative features.

Lauson small engines

As vast as the internet is, there's not a whole lot of information about Lauson small engines. From what I've read, the RSC model was very popular, later replaced by the RSH (pictured). The two models share many parts.

Lauson engine history

Lauson Engine History

The first Lauson engine, built in 1895, weighed 1140 pounds and produced four horsepower. Early production included flywheel ("hit and miss") engines and stationary two-cylinder opposed models. In or around 1930, the company started producing small 4-cycle, air-cooled engines.



Lauson engines powered several brands of early scooters. Popular in the 1930's and 1940's, the Moto Scoot scooter was powered by either a Briggs and Stratton or Lauson TLC engine, which produced about 2-1/4 horsepower.

Moto Scoot scooter ad

Moto Scoot advertised a fuel efficiency rating as high as 80 mpg, with a top speed of 40 mph.

In 1941, the Lauson company was purchased by Hart-Carter. During World War Two, they provided the U.S. Military with small gas engines which could also run on kerosene.

After WW2 ended, Lauson continued producing small aluminum engines, which powered lawn mowers, snow blowers, mini-bikes, and others. They also produced outboard motors.

In a 1946 advertisement, Lauson stated they were the first company to build light-weight, air-cooled industrial engines with ball bearings on each end of the crankshaft.

Around 1951, Lauson began building the 55 series engines. These had a simple splash lubrication system versus the pump/splash system seen on RSC and RSH models.

Lauson small engine

In December 1955, Lauson was purchased from Hart-Carter by Tecumseh Products Company. In January 1956, the company began operating as the Lauson Division of Tecumseh.

Are Lauson Engines The Same As Tecumseh Engines?

Shortly after purchasing, Tecumseh began rebadging Lauson engines to reflect the name of the parent company, but Lauson engines remained Lauson engines. Physically, both engines are similar, but they are different from one another.

Wind-Up Start

Along with Briggs & Stratton and Tecumseh, Lauson also offered wind-to-start lawn mower engines.

Lauson wind-up starter


Lauson Small Engine Find

The engine in the pictures below is a Lauson RSH-782.

vintage Lauson small engine

The cylindrical gas tank measures 4" in diameter and 8-1/2" in length, and is recessed on both ends.

Lauson vintage small engines

Along with many sub-models of the Lauson RSH, there is a vertical-shaft version called the RSV, which were fitted to several brands of lawn mowers in the 1950's.


The World's Oldest Engine Company

As of 2023, the Lauson Division of Tecumseh Products is still in operation. They advertise themselves as "Americas Oldest Engine Company".

Lauson company banner


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