Hercules Engine News

Including Economy, ARCO, Jaeger & Thermoil

Hercules Gas Engine Co.

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20601 Old State Road Haubstadt, Indiana 47639

By mid 1914 Hercules and Economy model E engines were being produced at the Hercules Gas Engine Company. The E model era would end some seven years later in 1921. During that time over 210,000 engines were produced, making the E Model more numerous than all other models combined during 20 years of engine production. Jaeger brand engines made their first appearance toward the end of the E model era.

Serial numbers at Evansville apparently began at 50,000. The lowest number observed to date is 50,035. It is a 2? HP Economy with rounded hopper edges and the serial number tag located on the base.

Initially, the first changes from the D to the E model were the addition of a speed control lever to the governor and a brass tag to the engine base or hopper top. Also with the introduction of the E models, the HP ratings were increased from 4 to 5, 6 to 7, 8 to 9, and 10 to 12. The bores and strokes remained the same, as did the r.p.m. on the 9 and 12. On the 5 and 7 HP, the r.p.m. was raised by 25.

The early Hercules E was rated at 2? HP, whereas the Economy was rated at 2? HP. Originally the Hercules had a 4' bore too, but it was increased to 4?' and rerated to 3 HP.

There were numerous changes in various engine parts during the E model era. Some were very minor, others were easily observed. Some of the features of the Hercules and Economy lines are different and these will be dealt with later.

Ignition on the early E models was still by ignitor, battery and coil with the Elkhardt magneto an option on the three smaller sizes. On the three larger sizes the Elkhardt magneto was standard. By the end of 1914, the Webster magneto also became an option. On the plain igniter there was no priming cup, so it was located on the side of the cylinder where the pipe plug is on the 7 HP engine shown.

Ten original Hercules Gas Engine Company drawings of straight frame engine carts and saw rig carts still exist. They are dated in October and November of 1914. There are separate plans for carts, sliding saw carts and tilting saw carts. Hopper cooled and tank cooled engine cart designs are also shown. All 7, 9 and 12 HP carts are for ? base engines. The caption from one of the drawings is illustrated.

Shown in the pictures is a 1? HP E Economy number 51772. Note the tag on the base. A peculiar shaped fuel mixer is shown on a 7 HP Economy number 53851.

Soon the Hercules and Economy lines would have their own identity; more on that later.