Richard Fisher tends to his 1- HP 1918 Hercules Model E at this
year’s Brown County Antique Engine and Tractor Show in
Nashville, Ind. Purchased as a non-runner, Richard and crew had it
running after less than eight hours.
Bob and Linda Crowell are regular visitors to engine and tractor
shows in the Midwest. As vendors of books and magazines covering
the old iron hobby, the Crowell’s have met collectors and
restorers across the Heartland, and in the process they’ve seen
more than their fair share of interesting mechanical moments. One
such moment, or day, really, was at this year’s Brown County
Antique Engine and Tractor Show held May 2-4 in Nashville, Ind.
What caught their attention was the sight of Richard Fisher,
Mooresville, Ind., busily working away on a stationary engine. Now,
the sight of someone working on his old iron at a show is hardly
surprisingly, but Richard’s single-minded focus somehow
The engine, a 1-HP 1918 Hercules Model E, was in pieces spread
across the ground, so Linda asked him what he was up to. Richard
explained how he’d just bought it that day at the show, and was
trying to see if he could get it running before the day was over.
It was a personal challenge, and of a sort Richard evidently
engages in with some frequency.
‘We bought it from a gentleman who kind of wheels and
deals,’ Richard explained. ‘He had it as something he
didn’t want to spend the time to make it run, he thought it was
passed what he wanted to fool with. The piston was stuck, but only
because of dried grease. The magneto was on it, so we hot-wired
around it. There was a little output, just not enough to fire the
engine. The head was off and the valves had been pulled off and
Richard says he didn’t really have a goal when he bought it,
he just wanted to get the Hercules running. ‘I thought we could
have it running in short order, but the other guys around were
betting we couldn’t, so we had to.’ ‘We’ in this
case would be Richard’s cohorts, David Pratt, Martinsville,
Ind., (who bought the engine with Richard) and Kenneth Hill, also
of Mooresville, Ind. ‘About everything on it was stuck,’
Richard says, including the governor and the pick. Even so, Richard
figured they had enough to work with, and since he only lives 30
miles from the show he ran home and jerked the head off another
Hercules he owns to use as a temporary donor.
Tearing the engine down to remove the stuck pistons revealed
some pleasant surprises. Removing the crank they found the bearings
were ‘good as new,’ Richard says, and a piece of oak
fashioned into a drift drove the piston out easily. As for the
rest, basically, Richard says, it was ‘just a matter of using
penetrating oil and light taps ’til things started loosening
They worked on it fairly steadily through the day, Richard says,
and at 5:50 p.m., just shy of eight hours after buying it, the
Hercules was running. Not bad for a day at the show, and when it
was all done, one more Hercules Model E was back in the fold of the
old iron community.
Contact engine enthusiast Richard Fisher at: 10651 N.
Gasburg Road, Mooresville, IN 46158, or e-mail: