Glenn Karch's 'Hercules Express'.
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 numbers.
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 ticket.
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 Hercules'.