Gas Engine Magazine

Hercules 75th Anniversary Show

By Staff

7500 Mesker Park Dr., Evansville, IN 47712, and Steve Reisinger,
5316 Daniel Ave., Evansville, IN 47712

‘Please take me home for my builder’s 75th Anniversary
Party!’ This phrase must have been repeated many times by a
multitude of Hercules built engines to convince their owners to
make the long trip back to Evansville, Indiana, the place of their
birth. In all, 21 states were represented.

Prince Stevens and William Ellis spent three long days on the
road to bring Prince’s family of Thermoils (1.5-3-6-8 HP) from
near Gardiner, Maine (1250 miles). Jim Patton brought his two
Thermoils from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Lawrence Dittmer brought a rare
9 HP Champion engine from Shelby, Iowa. Gary Stoner from
Cincinnati, Ohio exhibited two Jaegers with consecutive serial

The list could go on and on, for over 550 engines came to help
celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Hercules Gas Engine Company,
which had its beginning in Evansville, Indiana in January of 1914.
It was also the 10th anniversary of the Southern Indiana Antique
Machinery Club (SIAM). In all 13 Thermoils were in attendance as
well as approximately 200 Hercules or Hercules-built engines,
including Economy, Jaeger, Arco, and Champion. The drawing for the
Hercules raffle engine was held at noon on Sunday; it was won by
Beverly Spiess of Grass Lake, Michigan. The 1? HP engine was
delivered to her at the Portland, Indiana show where she bought the

Commemorative Hercules and Economy model engines were designed
by club members Glenn Karch and Steve Elpers and assembled at the
new makeshift Hercules plant by other club members. All 260-plus
engines were sold by Sunday morning. A special Hercules information
book was also on sale, authored by Glenn Karch. Club member Rudy
Hufnagel, a past employee of the original Hercules plant, gave an
engine striping demonstration. Allen Hay brought the steam whistle
from the Hercules plant, which is still standing today. An original
Hercules buggy was displayed by George Caddick, current owner of
the Hercules Corporation, now in Henderson, Kentucky.

Sixty tractors, including a rare Economy, were exhibited. Two
traction steam engines worked with the ‘Thick and Thin’
Lumber Company sawing wood for a covered bridge which the club
built over Center Creek. Ron Korff kept the shingle mill busy
sawing catalpa shingles for the bridge’s roof. The bridge is
now complete and is an added attraction to our show area.

The Old Time Auto Club did a fine job of bringing together over
75 antique cars, ranging from Fords to a pristine Packard and
everything in between. This was our first year for a. toy tractor
show which proved to be successful. As you can see, we had a busy
three days.

SIAM would like to thank all of our exhibitors for making the
75th anniversary show a success. We invite you to come to this
year’s show June 8-10. We will feature International built
engines and Oliver tractors. Come enjoy some good times and some
Southern Indiana hospitality at the ‘Home of the

  • Published on May 1, 1990
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