The Hercules Engine News

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Here is a story about those odd flywheels. For Hercules built engine enthusiasts there is almost no end to the variations and oddities that turn up. Four sizes of engines of Hercules manufacture have turned up with off type flywheels. They are characterized by being smaller in diameter and of heavier rim construction than the typical ones.

The first illustration is of a 1 HP engine belonging to Floridian Bill Nesslar. Its exact original use is unknown, but it was thought to have been used on a rail section car. It can be noted that the bosses on the rear have been drilled and tapped. Whether it was fitted with some kind of bolt-on attachment is unknown. It is engine number 353, 453 built in early 1927. Although it is labeled Economy in the picture, the brand is questionable.

The next illustration is of a 3 HP Hercules brand engine number 269, 845 built in 1922. It currently belongs to Dr. Kent Burress of Evansville, Indiana. The engine came off of a concrete mixer. You can easily observe the heavier flywheel spokes and rims.

Picture number three shows the flywheels from an American brand Hercules-built engine. American made various contractor table saws and other construction equipment. This engine, number 284,788 built in 1923, belongs to Jerry Morganette of Bloomington, Indiana. The flywheel rims have extra counter balancing holes drilled into the rim. This is a feature a normally not seen on Hercules built engines.

This fourth picture shows an 8 HP Jaeger half-base engine. Engines of this size were used to power stationary concrete batch operations at construction sites. This engine number 287, 574 was built in 1923 and belongs to Joe Basler of Lynn, Indiana. It is one of three such engines like this so far observed. Note the extra heavy counter balancing cast with the rim rather than the usual hollowed out area. It also has counter balancing holes drilled in the rim.

It is very interesting to note that these smaller diameter heavier rimmed flywheels are never described or referred to in any of the literature seen so far. Did Hercules manufacture them? It would appear that they were offered only for industrial use applications.

Picture #5 is of an engine just recently acquired by Steve Barr of Downers Grove, Illinois. It is a 3 HP engine number 273, 739 built in 1922 along with an attached pumping rig. Note the logo outline on the water hopper. It says Hercules Engine on it but is nothing like the typical Hercules logos. It is interesting to note the Wico PR magneto setup. It has the old and seldom seen magneto trip finger. Apparently the PR magneto was on the market and in use on some Hercules-built engines at least a year prior to the introduction of the EK in 1923.

The exact reason for these small heavy flywheels is unknown. Could it have been to reduce the space required for the engine? Could it have been to improve the engine counter balancing for smoother running? You be the judge.