Hercules Engine

Content Tools

12403 E. 34th Ave., Tacoma, Washington 98446

About two years ago, at our Engine and Tractor Show in Roy, Washington, I was showing some of my engines when I met a man who told me that he had an old cement mixer out in his woods that he would be willing to sell. So, not knowing how many others he had told about it, I called him the next day and went to see it.

When he showed it to me he told me it had broken down about 45 years ago and he had pulled it out there and left it. There were trees growing all around it, and some were a good five inches thick. The engine was in a closed engine compartment on the mixer. At the time I did not know who had made the engine and I could see there were a lot of broken parts. I took the opportunity and he sold it to me, and after he allowed me to cut down about a dozen trees to get it out, I took it home.

I knew it would take a lot of work to restore it. It was so rusty I couldn't even tell what color it had been. After I got it home I took the engine out and saw by the tag that it had been made by Hercules and was 1 HP Style 'N.' I had never heard of this one and it was one of the smallest 1 HP engines I had seen. I took the magneto off and after a couple of minutes I had it working. It's hard to believe, but it must have had a lot of grease on it to keep it loose all of these years.

I took the spark plug out and filled the cylinder with solvent and returned the plug. I planned to restore it after I found the parts that were broken.

About two months after I purchased the engine I bought Glenn Karch's book on the Hercules line and the 1 N engine was listed. While I was reading I discovered that although the engine was not rare, it was certainly scarce enough that I would not be able to find the parts I needed. I was lucky that all of the broken pieces were in the engine compartment of the mixer. I started welding all of the little parts back together. The governor weight mounting hole was broken off; the lock out lever was in three pieces; the valve push rod was bent; and the valve rocker was broken in two pieces. The cam follower bracket was also broken.

I had to make new valves. To do this I cut down two modern automotive valves. The piston was frozen with rust in the cylinder, so I drilled four inch holes in a piece of inch plate, the same pattern as the head. I then cut a block of wood that just fit in the cylinder hole and was about an inch longer than the hole was deep. I put the plate on the head studs and started torquing the nuts down 10 pounds at a time. When I got them to 110 pounds each I stoppedI was afraid to go any more.

After about 10 minutes of thinking about it, I decided to put about a dozen hot barbecue briquets down in the water hopper, and after a couple of minutes it snapped loose. I then sand blasted all the parts and found a trace of green paint. I knew then that it had been sold as a Hercules and not as a Sears Economy. While cleaning out the water hopper I happened to find two 5/16 inch oiler fill plugs. I am always needing one of those.

This model was made without a muffler, it had an oblong exhaust part with a baffle plate over it. I made a plate and put it on. When I started the engine it was very loud and smoked the new paint. I then built a muffler and bolted it on with the baffle bolt.

It runs real good and it only weighs 175 lbs. It was a lot of work, but as any engine collector knows, it was worth it. Oh, the cement mixer was a Wonder #3 and was too bad to save.